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Lewis dedicates medals to late coach | The Royal Gazette:Bermuda Track & Field

Stephen Wright, Sports Editor

Published Aug 30, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 29, 2019 at 11:51 pm)

Golden girl: Jessica Lewis, centre, poses on the Parapan American Games podium after winning the T53 100 metres final in a record time in Lima, Peru, on Wednesday. Kelsey LeFevour, left, of the United States, came second and Anahi Lucero Vazquez, of Mexico, finished third

(Photograph by Vidal Tarqui/Lima 2019)

Golden girl: Jessica Lewis, centre, poses on the Parapan American Games podium after winning the T53 100 metres final in a record time in Lima, Peru, on Wednesday. Kelsey LeFevour, left, of the United States, came second and Anahi Lucero Vazquez, of Mexico, finished third (Photograph by Vidal Tarqui/Lima 2019)

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Jessica Lewis has dedicated her medal success at the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru, to her former coach, Ken Thom, who died in a scuba-diving accident in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2017.

Lewis capped off a memorable Games by claiming gold in the T53 100 metres final on Wednesday, shattering her previous record time of 17.67sec, set in Toronto four years ago, crossing the line in 17.36.

The Bermudian, who won gold in the 400 and silver in the 800, has also highlighted the contribution of her coach Curtis Thom, the son of her longtime mentor, for his guidance and support during the past two years.

“I’m so thankful to my coach Curtis Thom for getting me to this point,” Lewis added.

“I could never explain just how grateful I am to him for stepping in after the loss of his dad and my previous coach Ken.”

Lewis was first introduced to wheelchair racing when Ken and Curtis visited the island for a sports expo at WindReach Bermuda in Warwick in 2006.

Curtis, who has represented Canada at three Paralympic Games, began coaching his father’s small stable of wheelchair sprinters after he died.

“It’s been tough not having Ken with us as it was the first big competition without him, but I’m doing all of this now in his honour,” Lewis said.

Blitzing her Games record was the icing on the cake for Lewis, who will now turn her attention to the World Para Athletics Championships, which will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from November 7 to 15.

“I’m over the moon and thrilled to be able to bring three medals home to Bermuda,” said Lewis, who works part time at a nursing home in Mississauga, Ontario.

“I’ve trained so hard and it’s a very humbling feeling to have it all pay off. I was really nervous going into the 100 being the record holder, but I kept telling myself as long as I get a great start I’ll be set.”

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