Canada's Stefan Daniel bursts to Para triathlon bronze in Tokyo

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Canada's Stefan Daniel, seen above in 2016, took bronze in the men's Para triathlon PTS5 event at the Tokyo Paralympics on Sunday in Japan.  (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images - image credit)
Canada's Stefan Daniel, seen above in 2016, took bronze in the men's Para triathlon PTS5 event at the Tokyo Paralympics on Sunday in Japan. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images - image credit)

Canada's Stefan Daniel has won bronze in Tokyo.

The Calgary native placed third in the men's Para triathlon PTS5 event on Sunday in Japan with a time of 59 minutes 22 seconds.

Daniel, 24, won silver in the category reserved for athletes with mild impairments at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. The Canadian was born with bilateral radial club hands, leaving his right arm seven inches shorter than his left.

"I'll come to cherish this, but it'll take time. I gave everything I had today," Daniel, who has four world championships to his name, told CBC Sports's Devin Heroux after the race.

Germany's Martin Schulz, who won gold five years ago, repeated the feat with a time of 58:10, while Great Britain's George Peasgood took silver at 58:55.

Daniel edged out American Chris Hammer by six seconds to take the final spot on the podium.

At the Odaiba Marine Park, Daniel was consistently third, emerging in the position after the 750-metre swim and after the 20-kilometre bike. He was able to make up some time on Peasgood in the 5-km run, but his deficit was ultimately too large to overcome.

Once again, heat was a factor in Tokyo, with temperatures nearing 30 C to go along with a thick humidity.

But Daniel was prepared. In anticipation of the weather, he used steaming kettles in his treadmill room at home to increase heat for training, sometimes up to 38 C.

It paid off on Sunday, with Daniel's endurance appearing not to waver as the race stretched to nearly an hour long.

However, after collapsing to the ground immediately after finishing the race, the Canadian was ushered on a wheelchair into a medical tent, where he received some form of treatment before re-emerging.

Meanwhile, Canada's Kamylle Frenette just missed the podium in her Paralympic debut, placing fourth in the women's PT4-5 Para triathlon.

It's the same position in which Frenette finished at both her world championship appearances, in 2018 and 2019. But despite both the increased pressure and humidity, the 25-year-old from Dieppe, N.B., posted a better time than in either of those events.

She crossed the finish line in 1:10:09.

"I'm overwhelmed right now. So proud," she told Heroux.

Frenette emerged third from the swim but quickly fell back into fourth, where she'd remain throughout the race. Ultimately, the Canadian — a pharmacy student who has worked in vaccination clinics throughout the pandemic — finished over two minutes out of the podium but over three minutes clear off fifth.

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