Justin Rodhe to throw at Gran Forza V in ROO Saturday

 

Kamloops shot putter Rodhe shut out of world champs

By Terry Bell, The Province March 6, 2012
Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/sports/Kamloops+shot+putter+Rodhe+shut+world+champs/6260966/story.html#ixzz1oS04HMpC

Photograph by: Kenston High School , www.kenston.k12.oh.us

Justin Rodhe was all pumped to fly to Istanbul on Saturday and throw the shot put at this week’s track and field World Indoor Championships.

Instead, the International Association of Athletics Federation threw the Kamloops resident a curve.

An American who got his Canadian citizenship on Nov. 1, 2011, the 27-year-old Rodhe was ruled ineligible to compete in Turkey because of a new IAAF rule that requires athletes to be a citizen of a country for two years to be eligible to compete. That means he wouldn’t be eligible to compete for Canada until Oct. 31, 2013, well after the 2012 Olympics in London.

“I was fully expecting to go to Turkey,” said Rodhe, who was at the airport in Phoenix, Ariz., waiting for a flight to Calgary when he got word from Athletics Canada that their appeals had failed and he’d been ruled ineligible.

He was planning to fly from Phoenix to Calgary and then on to Istanbul. Instead he left Calgary and headed back to Kamloops.

“I’d been named to the team and I’d qualified,” he said. “But about 10 days before my departure date [March 3] we got word that there might be some complications. Then we played the waiting game.

“It’s a disappointment. I’ve been training a long time and I was ready to go but it’s not like it’s that big of a speed bump. I’ll look to the next competition and keep going.”

Instead of worlds, Rodhe will now compete in a solo event at The Province Gran Forza V, a high-school meet that starts at noon on Saturday at the Richmond Olympic Oval.

Rodhe has lived in Kamloops since February 2008. In 2009 he married Canadian hammer thrower Megann VanderVliet.

Rodhe is clearly a Canadian. But the IAAF wrote the rule this season to prevent countries from recruiting athletes from other nations, and Rodhe is now trapped by it.

On Jan. 24, Athletics Canada started an appeal on behalf of a specific athlete. But there wasn’t enough time to get him clearance to compete.

“It’s a new rule this year,” Rodhe explained. “Under the old rule I would have been fine.

“It’s completely understandable to have this rule in place. We just ran out of time.”

Rodhe is fairly confident that he’ll be able to compete at the 2012 Olympics, which start on July 27.

“It looks hopeful that they’ll have that done but we haven’t had absolute approval,” he said. “I’m pretty settled that it will all work out. There’s a lot of time between now and the Olympics.”

Rodhe met his wife when they were competing on the NCAA circuit. He was at University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, and she was at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

They moved to Kamloops to train with head coach Anatoliy Bondarchuk, who coaches Kamloops native Dylan Armstrong, a silver medallist in the shot at the 2011 world championships in South Korea.

Rodhe had a throw of 20.95 metres at an indoor meet at Fayetteville, Ark., on Feb. 11. That makes him the world’s eighth-ranked thrower indoors so far this year.

He’ll be trying to surpass 21 metres Saturday.

tbell@theprovince.com

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