May 20, 2015.
Posted by: Howard Tsumura, The Province
NORTH DELTA — Michael Aono picks up the telephone and over the course of a short chat, comes clean with a somewhat surprising admission.
“This is the first time anyone’s ever interviewed me,” says the soft-spoken Grade 11 sprinter from North Delta’s Seaquam Secondary.
Well, if Aono’s star continues to rise the way it has since the start of the current outdoor track season, it’s something he’s going to get used to in a real hurry.
At the youth age division (16-17 years old), Aono has not only turned in the fastest times in Canada this season at 100 metres (10.79), 200 metres (21.45) and 400 metres (46.96), the latter time, clocked on April 25 at Western Washington University’s Ralph Vernaccia Invitational in Bellingham is nothing less than the sixth-best time in the world this season for his age group.
To attain that time, Aono not only beat his nearest competition in Bellingham by over two full seconds, the first nine guys he beat were all university-aged competitors.
Refreshingly unaffected by all of the kudos being thrown his way these days, and polite to a fault, his main concern is that his coaches and fellow training partners are thanked for what he calls “a great atmosphere at the track.”
Mary Chewning, now into her third season of coaching Aono through the Vancouver Thunderbirds track club, will attest to the quieter parts of his personality, but she is quick to admit he has a mature demeanour that allows him to see a bigger picture with his training
“He listens more than he talks,” says Chewning, “and he is extremely respectful. But I think he is also a tough kid, not a lot affects him. Even sub-maximal performances roll off his back.”
That’s another way of saying that he is training with a bigger picture in mind.