Brent Lakatos has won his eighth career Paralympic medal on the track, winning silver in the men’s T54 5,000-metre race on Saturday.
In a closely contested competition, the Canadian finished with a time of 10:30.19, just under three tenths of a second behind Switzerland’s Marcel Hug – the reigning European champion and Rio 2016 silver medalist in the event.
Similar to his qualifying race on Friday, Lakatos made his move entering the penultimate lap, jumping three spots from fourth to first.
The Dorval, Quebec native was able to hold off all competitors in the last two laps except Hug, who overtook him in the final 100 metres.
“When I went to the front, I accelerated really hard,” Lakatos said after the race. “Normally, I think I might have been able to hold on, but it’s so hot here. I did hold off quite well. There was only one guy who was able to pass me.”
In a race that was slower paced than both qualifying heats, competitors were clustered for the first 10.5 laps, leaving little space to operate.
Considering the lack of separation, the key to Lakatos’ success was his positioning.
“In a race like that, it’s very important not to get boxed in,” said Lakatos. “Wheelchairs are so long that it’s almost impossible when you get boxed in to get out.”
Now in his fifth Paralympic games, Lakatos had never medalled in a race longer than 800 metres. It was also the first time he took to the podium in this specific classification.
The distinction wasn’t lost on Lakatos.
“This one is quite different,” said Lakatos. “It’s my first medal in the T54 category and it’s my first medal in a long distance race. It’s great to get out there and race against those guys. It’s such a competitive field and anyone can win it.”
Coming just short of his second career Paralympic gold medal, the now-UK resident reflected on the event with optimism and enjoyed the moment.
“It was a great race. I had tons of fun out there,” said Lakatos. “It was really strategic. I got myself in a great spot and gave myself a great chance to win and it almost happened.”
Lakatos is off to a great start in what will be a busy Paralympic Games, as he is competing in every distance from 100-metres to the marathon.