Record-breaking debut for Marissa Papaconstantinou

Sprinter set new personal and Canadian bests

Marissa Papaconstantinou, Canadian Paralympic athlete, after finishing her race
Marissa Papaconstantinou broke the Canadian record (and her personal best) twice at the women's T64 200 metres event in Tokyo 2020. Canadian Paralympic Committee

Marissa Papaconstantinou’s five year battle with injuries paid off on Tuesday with a strong showing in the women’s 200m (T64) on the Tokyo track.

The Canadian sprinter finished fifth in the final, putting down a personal best for the second time during the day, posting a 27.08.

Marlene Van Gansewinkel from the Netherlands ended up first, setting a new Paralympic record of 26.56 seconds.

Despite not getting a place on the podium, the Torontonian felt she had a good couple of races at the Olympic Stadium.

“I really can’t be upset with the result,” said Papaconstantinou after her participation. “To be at my best all season right now, when it matters the most, is definitely a huge accomplishment. Obviously, there’s a desire for more, but I gave it all I could today.”

This was the first time the Torontonian put her name in a Paralympic final, as at the previous Games she was disqualified due to a lane violation.

During the qualification round the sprinter had a very good start, out-speeding most of her rivals early on and ending up in a solid second place with a time of 27.22 seconds. With the confidence boost of having set a new personal best, she was able to tempt a medal during a good portion of the final, constantly swapping between second and fourth place.

However, during the final metres she was unable to keep the pace and was passed by Irmgard Bensusan (Germany), Kimberly Alkemade (Netherlands) and Sydney Barta (U.S.).

“When I realized medalling was a potential, I had a moment when I stopped running my own race and tightened up a bit,” said the athlete. “It’s a learning curve and something to improve upon in the future.”

Even without the medal, Papaconstantinou still managed to lower her first mark of the day by 14-hundredths of a second, earning a time of 27.08 (PB and Canadian record).

This was a well-deserved reward for the young Paralympian, who seems to have left her injuries behind and is finally able to show her full potential. She is now focusing on her second event at Tokyo 2020: the women’s T64 100 metres, which will have its qualifying heats on Thursday.

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Posted: Aug 31 2021 12:08 pm
Filed under: Athletics Parasports Sports Tokyo Paralympics