Brooke and Landon Wells jogged about a kilometre from their home over to McLeod Athletic Park with their mom, Christine, on Friday morning to check out the Bell Canadian Track and Field Championships.
The two Langley Christian School students were able to watch the nation’s top athletes pretty much on their doorstep, not to mention seeing their dad who was volunteering at the event.
The kids, nine and seven, are active in soccer, ball and running.
Landon said he’d like to be an athlete when he grows up, competing in the 1000-metre while Brooke would go in for high jump.
The elite level competition was an opportunity Christine didn’t want them to miss.
She said it’s important for the kids to see that sports is about so much more than winning or knowing the rules. As a child, she was involved in sports and wants those same life lessons learned by her children.
“Growing up it was learning to work as a team, and building lifelong friendships,” she said.
Christine is also walking the talk, getting involved behind the scenes in her children’s sports organizations.
“I’m coaching them,” she said.
ACTION MOVES FROM MISSION TO LANGLEY
After making a stop at the Mission Raceway Park for the race walking events on Day 1 (Wednesday), the Bell Canadian Track and Field Championships migrated to McLeod Athletics Park for the start of the combined events and a number para wheelchair finals.
Under a forgiving sun and 20°C weather, multi-event athletes completed the first half of the women’s heptathlon and the men’s decathlon, with no clear early favourite emerging from either competition.
Several gold medalists, meanwhile, emerged from the para wheelchair events. Veteran national team member Jessica Frotten, notably, stole the show by winning two national titles in the space of four hours.
Here is a recap of the day’s highlights.
DUEL IN THE DEC
Five events were not enough to choose a clear favourite in the men’s decathlon. As track and field’s longest event reaches its midway point, Rostam Turner of Okanagan Athletics holds a minuscule lead over Jared Hendricks-Polak of London Western.
The rivals leapfrogged each other throughout the day, with Turner winning the initial 100m and then besting the Ontarian athlete by almost a metre in the shotput. Hendricks-Polak, however, gained ground on Turner in the long jump and then the high jump, where he handily beat the field thanks to a leap of 1.96 metres. Yet, Turner had the last laugh in the day’s final event, the 400m. His 50.87 was the best in the field.
“I think the 100m was the highlight of the day: we had quite a bit of headwind, and I still ran pretty close to where I am,” said Turner, before adding that he hopes to use the discus throw on day two to stretch his lead on the field.
After four of seven events in the women’s open heptathlon, two athletes find themselves separated by two mere points: Sienna MacDonald, an Albertan athlete competing unattached, leads Nicole Ostertag of Saskatoon Track and Field Club 3386 points to 3384. Madisson Lawrence of Manitoba, meanwhile, sits in third, trailing the lead by 37 points.
Ostertag had jumped to an early lead by putting half a second on the rest of the field and winning the 100m hurdles in 13.41 seconds. She then threw the farthest in the shot put. In the high jump, Lawrence leaped for a competition best of 1.72 metres.
Yet, MacDonald, despite not winning an event on Day 1, used her consistent top five placings to take the overall lead.
The heptathletes will be back in action tomorrow in the long jump, the javelin throw, and the 800m.
FROTTEN ON FIRE
Jessica Frotten of Cyclones Athletics flexed her range by taking home two gold medals in wheelchair para events: one in the 100m (18.61) and another in the 800m (2:06.48). both times beating out Nandini Sharma of Cruisers Sports.
Frotten, a Yukon-raised athlete who now lives and trains in Regina, is gearing up to represent Canada at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
“It feels really great to be back on the track, after dealing with an injury,” said Frotten, who has previously represented Canada at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the World Para Athletics Championship in 2017, in London.
WHEELCHAIR PARA 800M
Alexandre DuPont of St. Laurent Select came on top of a three-horse race with fellow national team members Josh Cassidy and Trystan Smith, posting a winning time of 1:41.59,. The trio will all represent Canada at the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
“The time was slow, but championships are about winning,” said Dupont, who will also compete in the 400m and 1,500m wheelchair finals later this week. “I wanted to make them work, and I waited for the backwind on the backstretch to blow past them.”
The Bell Canadian Track and Field Championship continues tomorrow and goes through Sunday, June 26. Follow our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for live coverage throughout the week.
Find information on tickets, scheduling and more on the event page.
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