Canada's Greg Stewart wins shot put gold at Paralympics

 

Record-setting toss of 16.75 metres vaults B.C. native atop podium

 

Greg Stewart has won gold in the men's F46 shot put for Canada's second gold medal at the Tokyo Paralympics.

In his first Games, the 35-year-old from Kamloops, B.C., threw a Paralympic record of 16.75 metres to soar to the top of the podium at Olympic Stadium on Wednesday in Japan.

"It can't get much better. It hasn't really sunk in yet," Stewart said. 

"I didn't even know I threw that first shot. I kind of blacked out from it...I'm just grateful for the love and support that got me here."

 

Stewart finished the first round of throws with his record-setting effort. No one else in the field even came close over five rounds after that, leaving the Canadian in top position.

In fact, Stewart posted each of the top three throws in the competition.

Russian Nikita Prokhorov took silver at 16.29 metres, while American Joshua Cinnamo rounded out the podium with a throw of 15.90 metres.

The F46 category is for athletes with a single upper-limb amputation. Stewart was born without the lower part of his left arm.

 

At seven feet, two inches tall and weighing 350 pounds, Stewart is an imposing figure. While his height helps his release point, Stewart noted that the sport was all about technique. 

He played sitting volleyball for much of his career, winning bronze with Team Canada at the Parapan Am Games in 2007 and 2011.

"The biggest thing I have learned over the last few years is that I love people, I love the chemistry and the camaraderie," he said. 

 

However, he was never able to reach the Paralympics in the sport, and took up shot put in 2016 as a new avenue of reaching the Games.

"I'm definitely more committed than before," Stewart said in 2018. "[It would] mean almost everything just to represent myself. And I'd be extremely grateful to represent the country. We as Canadians, we are good people. To represent a country that is loving, caring and connected, I'm very humbled by it."

 

He quickly took to the sport which, as an individual competitor, he says was a refreshing change of pace.

Stewart took silver in his only prior major international meet when he threw 16.30 metres at the 2019 world championships in Dubai.

The Canadian athlete said he was still in shock and has "no clue" when the gold will sink in.

"I'll have a good cry when I get back to see the rest of my team," he said. 

"I don't know about the future. There's the [world championships] next year but right now I am just going to enjoy this time."

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