Blake Haxton competes at Rowing's U.S. Paralympic Team Trials on April 14, 2021 in West Windsor, N.J.
Blake Haxton is making it a Tokyo two-fer, adding a qualification to this summer’s Paralympic Games in sprint canoe to the berth he’d already earned in rowing.
Haxton, a native of Columbus, Ohio, who also competed in rowing at the 2016 Paralympics, earned his second Tokyo berth Friday through his result in the men’s VL2 event at the ICF World Cup event in Szeged, Hungary.
“I hadn’t really raced until last year, and I really didn’t know how this race would go,” Haxton, 30, said in an article on the International Canoe Federation website. “I’m surprised. I hoped to stick around and maybe get to Paris (in 2024) and make that team, so to get here and qualify, I really hadn’t let myself think this was a possibility, I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
“Now I get to go. This is pretty unreal really. I’m having a blast. I’m going to double up, I’m going to give it a shot. I’ll need to do my homework, there’s a couple of days off in between, I figured we won’t know unless we try.”
Haxton earned his first Tokyo berth last month, competing uncontested in the men’s single sculls at U.S. Paralympic Team Trials for rowing in New Jersey. He finished fourth in the men’s arms and shoulders single sculls event at the Rio Games in 2016.
April’s Paralympic trials race marked Haxton’s first in a year and a half, he said, making it the longest he had gone between races in a dozen or so years. However, he quickly turned his attention to also qualifying in paracanoe.
“That’s job No. 1,” he said after.
He achieved it when he finished fourth in Szeged, just a quarter of a second off the podium.
Haxton nearly qualified for the Tokyo Games in sprint canoe in 2019, when he missed out by just one spot based on his finish at the world championships.
An Ohio State grad for both undergrad and law school, Haxton works as an investment research associate for Diamond Hill Capital Management in Columbus.