Nova Scotia

Ryan Shay competes against friend who loaned him wheelchair part

A Nova Scotia parathlete who borrowed a friend's race wheelchair part so he could compete at the Canadian Track and Field Championships went head to head against his buddy on Saturday.

Shay met the Parapan Am standard in the 200m race against his friend Ben Brown

Ryan Shay got help from his friend Ben Brown when he needed a fix for his broken wheelchair. (CBC)

A Nova Scotia parathlete who borrowed a friend's race wheelchair part so he could compete at the Canadian Track and Field Championships went head to head against him on Saturday.

Teammates Ryan Shay, 21, and Ben Brown, 27, raced against each other in the 200-metre sprint in Edmonton.

Brown crossed the line third, clocking a time of 30.11 seconds, while Shay trailed by just over seven seconds.

In a phone interview, Shay laughed when asked how it felt to go up against his wheelchair saviour.

Overall, he said the race felt "pretty good" given the windy conditions, the slowness of the track and the challenges of pushing a wheelchair no longer customized to suit his racing style.

Shay's time of 37.94 seconds was good enough to meet the Parapan Am standard. He also posted a qualifying standard for the 100-metre event on Thursday.

It looked like Shay might not compete at all

When Shay arrived in Edmonton, he unpacked a special bag for his race wheelchair and discovered it had been damaged on the flight.

That's when Brown came to the rescue. He gave Shay his spare wheelchair part, a front fork, so Shay could stay in the game. The chair was fixed up hours before the first race on Thursday.

As for Brown, he also showed his speed in Edmonton. He made Parapan Am qualifying standards in the 100 and 400-metre events. His 100-metre time of 16.35 seconds was his third fastest this year.

(The 200-metre event does not exist in Brown's classification at the Parapan Am games, but it is raced at the worlds.)

Brown says he was happy to have helped out Shay, but Brown says he wasn't focused on his teammate as they raced against each other. Brown says he was concentrating on getting in a clean race and pushing fast.

However, meeting the Parapan Am standard doesn't guarantee either of them a spot on the team as the size of the squad is limited. Brown says the team is expected to be named in a few days.

The Parapan Am games will be held in Toronto in August.

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