Tristan Smyth (1) competes at the Rio 2016 Games. The Maple Ridge native is competing at the upcoming Commonwealth Games. (Special to The News)

Tristan Smyth (1) competes at the Rio 2016 Games. The Maple Ridge native is competing at the upcoming Commonwealth Games. (Special to The News)

Maple Ridge athlete to compete at Commonwealth Games

Wheelchair racer Smyth representing Canada on the world stage

A Maple Ridge athlete will be representing Canada at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

Wheelchair racer Tristan Smyth will be competing in the 1500m and the marathon race at the games, which will run from July 28 until Aug. 8.

Smith, 36, competed in two races at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, placing fourth in the marathon and seventh in the 1,500m. The marathon finished was a virtual three-way tie for second place that had to be decided by a photo finish.

He made a sparkling Paralympic Games debut in 2016 in Brazil, helping Canada to the bronze medal in the 4X400-m wheelchair relay. He launched his national team career in 2015 at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto and the IPC World Championships. He discovered wheelchair sports during a rehabilitation stint at GF Strong after becoming injured in a skateboarding accident.

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“This is a very diverse group of talented athletes who have been selected to this team,” said Carla Nicholls, para head coach and lead of para performance at Athletics Canada. “I have no doubt that we will see some incredible performances from this team.”

Para-athletes were invited by the Commonwealth Games Federation based on being ranked in the top-seven in the WPA World Rankings between Dec. 31, 2020 to April 25, 2022.

At the last Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, Team Canada was led by Alysha Newman and Christabel Nettey’s respective first place finishes in the pole vault and long jump, and came away with a total medal haul of two golds, six silvers and one bronze.

On the para side, Alex Dupont won Canada the gold medal in the men’s 1,500m (T54), and Diane Roy earned bronze in the women’s 1,500m (T53).

Birmingham 2022 will feature 19 sports and eight para-sports as part of its program, with up to 4,500 athletes taking part. The Commonwealth Games are the only multi-sport event that features equal standing for sport and para-sport events, and these 2022 Games will showcase the largest para-sport program ever. In addition, for the first time in its history, the Games will feature more medal events for women (135) than men (133).

Smyth now makes his home in Lake Country, B.C.

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