Lewis Aiming For Third Straight Gold In Chile

November 15, 2023 | 1 Comment

[Written by Stephen Wright]

Jessica Lewis will be vying for a third straight gold medal in the T53 100 metres when she competes at the Parapan Am Games in Santiago, Chile, next week.

The 30-year-old won gold in Toronto in 2015 and Lima in 2019, setting Parapan Am Games records on both occasions and is aiming for a three-peat in her favourite discipline. She will also compete in the T53/54 400 and 800.

“The 100 is my last event [November 25], so it will be nice to have a couple of races to get rid of any nerves,” Lewis told Bernews.

“I’d love to be under my Games record [17.36sec]; that would be cool. I’ll focus on my technique, and hopefully, the times and placements come with that.”

With the Games organisers merging the T53 and T54 disability sports classifications, Lewis admits it will be much harder to finish on the podium than in Lima, where she won gold in the 400 and silver in the 800.

Jessica Lewis records a very commanding win at the 2015 Games, setting a new record

“Some of the athletes will have a higher function than me,” she said. “They have done it to ensure there are a full number of heats.

“It’s going to be a bit more of a challenge for me, but I’m looking forward to that. I love to chase, and that fuels me to go and do my best. It will be fun to race against some girls I’ve never raced before.”

Lewis, whose times in Santiago will go towards helping her qualify for the Paralympic Games in Paris next summer, will compete in her new custom-made racing chair, having altered her seating position to increase her power.

“We’ve chopped up my old racing chair frame and put it in a new seating position,” said Lewis, who arrived in Santiago yesterday. “I’m excited to test it in a race environment.

“The first few days were rough as it’s a drastic change. We’ve lowered my knees and brought me forward.

Jessica Lewis awarded the gold medal in 2019

“My back was a little bit sore getting used to that. I’ve had about a week and a half training in the chair, and it’s feeling more normal.”

In preparation for the Parapan Am Games and beyond, Lewis has moved to Victoria, British Columbia, to train at the Athletics Canada West Hub under her new coach, Geoff Harris, a former Canada 800 runner.

The pair have been working together since June.

“It’s been amazing to use the West Hub facilities – the environment is incredible,” she said. “The training is a lot different from what I was doing previously. It’s given me a newfound love for the sport.”

Lewis will be joined in Santiago by Bermuda boccia pair Yushae DeSilva-Andrade and Omar Hayward.

“It’s great that Omar and Yushue will be here as well,” Lewis added. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to see them compete.”

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  1. Steve says:

    Wish you well Jessica

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