Victoria’s Liam Stanley is officially a world record holder as his 5,000m result from a race in December has been ratified. At just 23 years old, Stanley is already a Paralympic medallist after winning silver in the 1,500m in Rio, and he has now added a world record to his resume. He competes in the T37 category, which is a classification for athletes who have coordination impairments. His time of 15:54.5 bettered the previous world record by 13 seconds, and it smashed the Canadian best by close to a minute.
Stanley may be young, but he has already accomplished so much in his athletic career. With his recent result in the 5,000m, he adds to his Canadian records in the 800m and 1,500m. In addition to his silver medal from the Rio Games, Stanley produced an identical result in the same event, finishing in second at the World Para Athletics Championships in 2017. He also took home hardware from the Parapan American Games in 2019, winning silver in the 1,500m once again and bronze in the 400m.
After spending several years as a threat in middle-distance racing, Stanley showed the world that he might be even better at the longer races on the track. As he told Athletics Canada (AC) after the event, which he ran at the University of Victoria, he was pretty sure he had the world record in the bag in the later stages of the race. “With a lap to go, that’s when I knew I was probably going to break it,” he said. “That’s when I first realized it. After that, I just tried to go as fast as I could.”
After sprinting to the line, he produced a remarkable result that has to make him a favourite as he prepares for the Paralympics this summer in Tokyo, which he also discussed with AC. “I definitely want to go to Tokyo and get on the podium again. It’s such a special moment, with people cheering and clapping. You just try to enjoy the moment.”