Jon Dunkerley

Jon Dunkerley

Even as a young child Jon loved to compete. Whether it be kicking the soccer ball around with his brother in their back yard, or climbing trees to hide during an intense game of neighbourhood hide and seek, he was always up for a challenge, or two.

Immigrating to Canada in 1991 with his mother, his soon to be step father and brother, Jon was enrolled at the W Ross McDonald School for the Blind in Brantford Ontario, a school like no other in that physical activity was something that was emphasized, participation in an array of sports ranging from swimming, wrestling and track and field, encouraged.

Throughout his time at W Ross, Jon excelled in the pool, and on the wrestling mat. By the time he graduated from W Ross in 2000, he had racked up 7 district wrestling championships, finished second at the Ontario High School Wrestling Championships in 2000, and won Gold at the World Blind Wrestling Championships held in Colorado in 1995.

Upon graduating from high school, Jon attended Sheridan College in Brampton Ontario, attaining two diplomas; one for Community Worker, Outreach and Development, and the other in Animal Care studies. While not in class, Jon turned to the friendly confines of the judo mat, quickly working his way through various colours of belt, ending up at blue, and representing Canada at the Blind World Judo Championships in Quebec in 2004, where he finished 9th.

In 2006, Jon turned to running as his newest competitive challenge. Moving to Ottawa, he joined the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club and under the watchful gaze of Coach Andrew Page, he, along with his guide runner Sean Young quickly became a formidable duo on the track, qualifying for the Para PanAm Games in 2007 in Rio, Brazil where Jon was unfortunately not able to compete due to a hamstring injury.

Over the next 8 years, Jon continued to compete at an international level. He qualified for the 2008 Paralympic Games, finishing 7th in the 400M T11 category, which is reserved for athletes who have next to no vision. In 2009, he took home a silver in the 400M at the International Blind Track and Field Championships held in Colorado Springs. In 2011, he finished 4th in the 800M at the International Paralympic World Championships held in New Zealand. In 2012, he again, qualified for the Paralympic team, finishing 7th in the 400M, and 6th as part of Canada’s 4×1 relay squad. In 2013, he finished 9th in the 800M at the International Paralympic Committee World Championships held in Lyon, France.

Retiring from competitive track and field in 2015, Jon took a year away from any form of competitive sport. In late 2016, after participating in a local triathlon, he, like so many do, fell in love with the sport and after only 1.5 years of serious training holds a world ranking of four, has made a triathlon podium on 4 different occasions, and has subsequently moved out to Victoria to pursue the opportunity to represent Canada at the Paralympic Games in 2020.

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