Canada's Nate Riech blasts to gold in men's T38 1,500-metre final

Canada's Nate Riech has raced to a gold medal in his Paralympic debut after posting a first-place finish in the men's T38 1,500-metre final. 

Runner sets Paralympic record of 3:58.92 in his debut Games

Canada's Nate Riech tops the podium after his men's T38 1,500-metre race on Saturday. (Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

Canada's Paralympics are nearly over, but one runner is ensuring the country closes in style.

Nate Riech of Victoria has raced to a gold medal in his Paralympic debut.

The 26-year-old reigning world champion and world record holder ran to a time of three minutes 58.92 seconds in the men's T38 1,500-metre final. The time set a new T38 Paralympic record in the distance.

"I felt like I got too concentrated on winning gold, so my sport psychologist and I came up with just try to make that 10-year-old me who was paralyzed in a hospital bed proud. That was my goal, and I think I did that," Riech said after the race.

WATCH | Nate Riech sets Paralympic record, runs to T38 1,500m gold: 

Algeria's Abdelkrim Krai was rewarded for his late push, capturing silver with a time of 4:03.07. Australia's Deon Kenzie rounded out the podium after slipping to third, posting a time of 4:03.76.

Riech's gold raises Canada's medal count to 21 total, including now five gold medals.

Entering the Tokyo Paralympics, Riech continued to trim seconds off his world-record time in the 1,500 metres as recent as May 2021 with a time of three minutes 50.47 seconds at a meet in Azusa, Calif.

Riech, a communications specialist at the University of South Alabama, has had a successful few years, having also previously won races in this distance at the IPC World Championships and the Parapan American Games, both in record times.

Fellow Canadian Liam Stanley, a T37 athlete — competing with a higher degree of impairment in comparison to athletes of T38 classification or higher — also participated in the race and finished fifth with a time of 4:06.95.

Despite missing the podium, the 21-year-old, who also hails from Victoria, set a Paralympic record for the T37 classification in the distance.

WATCH | Nate Riech receives 1,500m gold medal:

With files from Christine Rankin

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