Patriquin retires from wheelchair racing

Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - One of this province's most successful wheelchair athletes is calling it a career.
Recurring neck and shoulder pain brought on by years of racing have forced Barry Patriquin to retire from competitive wheelchair racing, ending a career that saw him represent Canada at Paralympic Games in Sydney and Athens, two world championships and a host of other events around the globe.
"I gave it about nine months hoping the shoulder and neck would bounce back, but that just hasn't happened. I'm just too sore and not willing to live with the pain," said Patriquin. "I wouldn't be able to give it my best and I'm in a lot of pain. It's like a constant toothache. It's been bugging me for a few years, but the last year or so it's been getting worse."
At the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, he was part of the bronze-medal winning 4x100 Canadian team. He has won numerous medals in 100-metre events in national competitions.
Patriquin tried to make the national team going to the Beijing Games last year, but was hampered by injuries. He figured after some time off that things would improve and he'd be able to participate in a few invitational events.
"I just didn't get any better. I was taking anti-inflammatories but they weren't working. I just decided I'd had enough," said the 47-year-old Oxford native. "I've had an exciting eight-year run on the national team. I've been to many parts of the world and I've met some really neat people. What means the most is that I have competed against some of the world's best and finished respectable."
Patriquin is an employment and career facilitator for youth with the Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association in Amherst and on the volunteer board for the Cumberland County Transportation Service Society that is building an affordable transportation service in the area. He's also helping Nova Scotia and New Brunswick develop a racing team to compete at the Canada Games in P.E.I. this summer.

Organizations: Beijing Games, Cumberland African Nova Scotian Association, Cumberland County Transportation Service Society Canada Games

Geographic location: AMHERST, Sydney, Canada Athens Oxford Nova Scotia New Brunswick P.E.I.

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