2019 Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome International Track Classic is set for June 20th at Swangard Stadium
By Gary Kingston
RICHMOND - Hamstring strains are a hurdler’s curse. So any little tweak or twinge will often force an elite level high-leg strider to shut things down in an abundance of caution.
Such was the case for the men’s Open 60-metre hurdles at the ninth Harry Jerome Indoor track meet on Saturday at the Richmond Olympic Oval. Still, a depleted field didn’t stop Jackson Cheung of Vancouver from setting a meet record with a time of 8.18 seconds. But the lack of fast competition -- and a delay between prelims and the final -- did likely cost him a shot at threatening the eight-second mark.
Cheung, a University of Guelph product, ran a personal best 8.07 the weekend before in Seattle on a super-fast track at the University of Washington. His 8.18 in a heat at the Jerome was 1/100th of a second faster than former B.C. high school star Anastas Eliopoulos ran and both bettered the meet record of 8:23 set in 2018 by Ryan Chen. But Eliopoulos, who trains with the Vancouver Thunderbirds after leaving UBC following his freshman year, felt a slight twinge in that prelim and decided not to race the final. “It was a prevention thing, just being cautious,” said his coach Laurier Primeau.
Caution was the same issue that sidelined UBC hurdler Bogdan Pavel, who tweaked his hamstring in training on Thursday and decided it would be best to sit out the Jerome. Cheng was also missing as he continues rehabbing a knee injury.
Cheung won the final in 8:29, with UBC’s Kenneth Schultze coming second in 8.44.
“The prelim counted, though, (as a meet record), so I got something out of it,” said a smiling Cheung, who graduated from Guelph last spring with psychology and philosophy degrees.
A dozen meet records were established Sunday in age-group competition from nine-year-olds to masters, including a couple in the shot put. Michael Ogbeiwi won the U16 competition with a throw of 15.82 metres, bettering the old mark of 13.37 metres, while Jarrett Chong of Royal City Track Club unleashed a throw of 14.99 metres to win the men’s Open event. The old mark was 14.55 metres.
Cheung, who competes for the Richmond Kajaks where he’s also a youth coach, heads back to Seattle this coming weekend for the Husky Classic on a track he calls “fantastic. It’s carpet, thick, probably the best track I’ve ever run on.”
“I’ve been trying to run eight seconds for four years now. It’s time to do it. It’s always telling when you PB in the season-opener. I just got to go back to the drawing board and make sure I’m doing all the things that I did, setting it up for that meet.”
Cheung had thought an eight-second time at the Jerome was possible, but the absence of Pavel and defending champion Cheng, plus the withdrawal from the final of Eliopoulos, made it tough.
“All the adrenaline was there in the prelim, nothing like the final,” said Cheung, who added that the 30-minute delay before the final didn’t help.
While his recent training has been “awesome, it was hard to recover after that PB effort I did in Washington. It’s almost a tenth faster, the fastest time I’ve ever ran in my life, so it takes a little bit of recovery. I wasn’t feeling like I was in shape until six days after that race. It feels like a lot of work racing and recovering after that.”
Cheung’s goal this summer is to qualify in the 110-metre hurdles for Canada’s University Games team.
“My coach described it as Olympics, but more fun because people are less serious. So I’m hoping I’ll have some fun there.”
In the men’s Open 60 metres, Trinity Western freshman Kenny Blackman upset two-time reigning champion Stephen Abosi. Blackman was timed in a personal best 6.92 seconds, while Abosi, a UBC graduate who set the meet record of 6.77 last year, ran 6.95. Trinity Western’s Praise Olatoke was third in 6.96.
“These past couple of years, I’ve always looked up to (Abosi) as a sprinter in general,” said Blackman. “Now that I’m competing against him, that I’m at that level, it feels really rewarding.”
Blackman said the PB is a good sign as he points toward the summer outdoor season where he hopes to qualify at 100 metres for Canada’s Pan Am junior team in Costa Rica.
The women’s Open 60 metres was won by Surrey sprint sensation Jasneet Nijjar, although it was a painful victory. Nijjar, who won the 100, 200 and 400 metres at last year’s B.C. high school championships, crossed the line in 7.90 seconds, but caught a spike at the finish and tumbled to the track. She had to be carried off with a hamstring injury.
Nijjar earlier won the women’s Open 60 metre hurdles in 9.00 seconds, easily beating Universal Athletics teammate Marneet Sangha, who was timed in 9.46.
One of the most impressive age-group records set Sunday was by Maya Baechler of the Vancouver Thunderbirds. She won the U16 women’s 1200 metres in 3:46.24, easily beating the old mark of 3:55.74 and outdistancing second-place Lauren Soobrian, also of the Thunderbirds, by more than 10 seconds.
Maya Kobylanski of Ocean Athletics won the women’s U18 1500 metres in 4:53.49, breaking the old mark of 5:01.18.
The Ninth Jerome indoor Games is set for tomorrow at the Richmond Olympic Oval. events start at 9:45am and conclude 5:15 pm. A record entry of over 500 athletes will contest the events for 9 years old to over 70 years. Spectators will see over a dozen meet record holders return to the 200m oval and 60m straight away. Many of these young athletes will be candidates for Canada’s national team in the near future.
A good example of one of the most competitive races tomorrow is the open men’s 60m. The line up with outdoor 100m times is Stephen Abosi-10.73, Anastas Eliopoulos-10.76, Kenny Blackman Jr-10.77, Amar Sandhu-1083, Praise Olatoke-10.85, Ben Tjernagal-10.95, Jesiah Pearson-McCoy-10.97 and Michael Aono-11.02. There is a good chance that the meeet record of 6.77 seconds held by Abosi will fall.
The open men’s 600m will be another battle with Sajjan Sarai, Aiden Kits and Michael Aono challenging the meet record of 1:22.92. The U20 men’s 600m will see Nico Aron and Matti Erickson compete for the meet rrecord of 1:25.94.
Here is the meet schedule. Further information is available at www.harryjerome.com
By GARY KINGSTON
Speed painting has been described as creating art against the clock.
So, if hurdling is truly the real art form of track and field, then the indoor 60 metre hurdles is the ultimate fast and furious with the brush. The clock ticks awfully quick. One stroke, two stroke . . . eight seconds and it’s done.
Eight is the number a strong field of B.C.-based hurdlers will be shooting for on Feb. 2 when they line up to contest the Open 60-metre hurdles at the Harry Jerome Indoor Track Classic at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
Defending champion Ryan Cheng, 28, of the Vancouver Thunderbirds Track Club is rehabbing an injured knee and has had to pull out. But UBC hurdlers Bogdan Pavel and Kenneth Schultze, 2017 Canada Summer Games gold medalist Jackson Cheung and Anastas Eliopoulos, the Canadian U20 record holder in the 110-metre hurdles outdoors are expected to compete.
Cheng, who returned to hurdling in 2017 after an eight-year hiatus, won the Jerome last year in 8.23 seconds, just ahead of Pavel’s 8.33 and Schultze’s 8.35. Eliopoulos, then 18, won the event in 2017 in 8.23, although he was clearing the junior hurdle height of 39 inches. Now, he’s competing at the senior height of 42 inches.
Cheung, a Vancouver native who recently finished up at the University of Guelph, still sees himself as a “full-time athlete,” although he’s also juggling coaching duties with the Richmond Kajaks and his work as a strength and conditioning coach at the Olympic Oval. The 22-year-old has a personal best of 8.14 indoors.
Cheung believes Cheng’s meet record is in jeopardy given the depth of the field, and even suggests that a sub-eight second run isn’t out of the question.
“I think so,” he said in a recent interview. “I think if there’s any time for the record to be broken, it’s the year. I’ve known Bogdan since Grade 9 . . . and I’ve trained with Ryan. We’ve talked a lot of shop.”
Jonathan Cabral and decathlete Damian Warner are the top 110-metre hurdlers in Canada, but Schultze (fifth), Cheng (11th), Pavel (12th) and Cheung (16th) were all highly ranked in 2018. Cheng, a hugely popular online influencer as social media personality Chengman, is very publicly aiming at qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Cheung and Pavel are setting their sights on making Canada’s World University team -- this year in Cheung’s case in 2021 for Pavel.
Pavel battled a hamstring injury for much of last year, but UBC head coach Laurier Primeau says the fourth-year Arts student is “looking as good as I’ve ever seen him.”
“Yeah, it feels pretty good right now,” said Pavel, whose 60-metre hurdles PB is 8.19 set last February in Seattle. “I’m getting more and more powerful out of the blocks. I just want to beat my indoor time from last year, If I can do that, it’ll be a good sign for the outdoor season.”
Pavel is an advocate of hurdling as an art form, a concept eloquently detailed in some long form articles written by former collegiate hurdler and now North Carolina-based coach Steve McGill, who operates the www.hurdlesfirstbeta.com website.
“I think it’s a pretty underrated event,” says Pavel. “People really don’t understand the difficulties. When I first started track, it was the last thing I ever wanted to do. Now, I really enjoy it, the constant working on technique, the fine details. It’s a much more complicated event than flat out sprinting.”
Given the nuances of the discipline -- how many strides between hurdles, the lean, the vertical axis of the torso, the positioning of the lead and trailing leg -- it takes a long time to learn to hurdle well.
“One aspect of the art of hurdling,” writes McGill, “lies in finding a balance between retaining a competitive drive while still pursuing a greater mastery of the art form. The two can, indeed, go hand in hand. The irony lines in the fat that fast times generally don’t come as a result of trying to run fast, but as a result of trying to tune into the rhythm of the race.
“To me, a hurdler’s rhythm is a very personal thing, as distinctive as a fingerprint.”
For hurdlers, straight sprinting is boring. They relish the challenge of obstacles in their path and the fact that pure speed isn’t as important as harmonizing the dance of rhythm in motion.
“(It) verifies the point that hurdlers are seeking something more, something greater than the ego-centred gratification that comes with winning races,” writes McGill. “Hurdlers are searching for a feeling.”
Cheung says he’s more into the science of hurdling, into compiling data on all different types of hurdlers and maximizing the “extreme” physical requirements that are necessary. “There is no pixie dust,” he says, adding that “most people won’t ever get a taste of that perfect rhythm.”
Eric Chatten has entered the high jump at the 9th Annual Jerome Indoor Games. The 6 foot 7 inch 190 pound jumper has a personal best of 2.18m outdoors and 2.10m indoors. His best this season is 2.05m set in Seattle at the UW Preview on January 12.
Eric is coached by Ziggy Szegalowicz who has recently moved from the Fraser Valley to the Metro Vancouver area. Ziggy now coaches the high jump under the Richmond Kajak colours. Coach Ziggy has won many honours and awards over the years and this year he has been named 2018 High Performance Coach of the Year by BC Athletics. The award will be presented to Ziggy at the BC Athletics Banquet on Saturday, February 2nd, 2019. Some of the outstanding high jumpers that Ziggy has coached in recent years include: Mike Mason, Django Lovett, Joel Della Siega, Alexa Porpaczy and Eric Chatten while with the Valley Royals Track Club in Abbotsford.
Coaches and athletes must enter by January 28 via Trackie.reg
Information at www.harryjerome.com
The 2019 Jerome Indoor Games is less than 2 weeks from now and meet director’s Vincent Doyle and Kim Young are expecting to equal the over 700 entries of 2018. Entries close on January 25 and coaches and athletes are encouraged to enter now for the 9th edition on Saturday, Feburary 2nd at the Richmond Olympic Oval. This event has been co-sponsored by the Achilles International Track and Field Society and the Richmond Kajaks since 2011 in the legacy of the 2010 Olympic Games in Richmond. Events provide opportunities for age group, U16, U18, open through masters athletes in the 5 lane Track Zone of the Richmond Olympic Oval.
Amazing talent has been recognized over the years that the Jerome Indoor Games has been held in Richmond. Jasneet Nijjar is a great example of an outstanding athlete who has been a fixture since she was an age group sprinter. This year’s Queen Elizabeth Secondary student body president, holds the Jerome Indoor Game’s meet records in the 60m and 60m hurdles for 13 year olds, U16 and U18. In 2018 she was the BC High School Champion over the 100, 200m and 400m and represented Canada at the World U18 Championships in Argentina.
She has been coached by Jessie Dosanjh at the Universal Athletics Club in North Surrey since she began the sport. He says “She’s such a talented athlete,” he added. “She’s a hurdler, a jumper, a distance runner, she’s a sprinter, and last season we focused more on her pure speed for the future plan.… This year I’m going to change her events into multi-events, the heptathlon, to use all of her talents. In the future I see her to reach the world-class level, and she has the potential to be in that.”
Next fall she will attend Washington State University in Pullman. The head coach at WSU is Wayne Phipps, a Canadian from Prince George, BC. In 2018 Phipps coached Alissa Brooks-Johns to the PAC 12 Championships with 5977 points in the heptathlon.
Entries close on January 28
Full entry information is available at www.harryjerome.com
Canada’s Gabriela Stafford, 23, enjoyed some fireworks herself on January 5.
Until that day, Stafford had been known as a 1500 runner — she owns a 4:03.55 pb, but failed to make the finals in the 2016 Olympics, 2017 Worlds, and 2018 Commonwealth Games. But at the Glasgow Athletics Association Miler Meet, Stafford made her 5,000 debut and to say it went well would be an understatement.
She ran 14:57.45 to destroy Megan Metcalfe-Wright’s old Canadian indoor record of 15:25.15 by nearly 30 seconds (she narrowly missed Courtney Babcock‘s outdoor mark of 14:54.98).
We imagine some of you may be wondering why a Canadian would be running in a low-key 5,000 in Britain in January. The answer is simple. Stafford has pulled a “reverse Mo Farah” and moved from North America to the UK to train with Laura Muirunder the Muir’s coach, Andy Young. Speaking of Muir, she won the 5,000 in 14:52.02 and towed Stafford to the record.
After getting the record, Stafford gave big props to Muir and Young, telling Canadian Running her workouts are very intense nowadays:
“I’ve definitely gotten a lot more mentally tough. Some of the workouts I’ve done this fall are just on another level in terms of both intensity and length. Some of them are just as difficult as races, so I’ve really had to up my mental game as a result. Completing these workouts allowed me to approach my season opener more calmly than I have in a long while, because a 5K race can’t be harder than some of the sessions I’ve done recently.”
Stafford celebrated her national record by getting married a week later. (from LET’S RUN}
Entries close on January 28 just over 1 week away for February 2 event at Richmond Olympic Oval
Coaches and athletes can enter here
The long road to the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games has started at indoor arenas across Canada and the United States as Canadian track and field athletes assess their fitness for the upcoming season ending up at the IAAF World Championships in Doha next October. Many of Canada’s established Olympians are either starting later or omitting the 2019 indoor season altogether but our next level is fighting to establish their claim to contend for the coveted Canadian Olympic Team Selection. The Metro Vancouver areas first indoor meet is set for the Richmond Olympic Oval with the Jerome Indoor Games on February 2.
The Top Ten performances for the first week of 2019 for Canadian Men are lead by Surrey’s Luc Bruchet who competed for Canada at the Rio Olympics after graduating from UBC.
Entries close for the Jerome Indoor Games on January 25. Information at www.harryjerome.com
The 2019 Jerome Indoor Games will award the Pacific World Cup to the top university team on February 2 at the Richmond Olympic Oval. The University of British Columbia has captured this award the past three years. The return of the Trinity Western University Spartans may challenge the UBC Thunderbird hold on this coveted award.
Coach Shane Wiebe of TWU announced this week a preview of some of his entries. His men’s team is lead by sprint talent both locally and internationally. UBC took the men’s 4x200m event in 2018 with a time of 1:33.71, just short of the meet record of 1:32.10 set by UVIC Track Club in 2014. The Spartans will be lead by Ben Tjernagel, (100m-10.78), Kenny Blackman Jr. (100m-10.79), Praise Olatoke (100m-10.82) and Kevin Hughes, (100m-11.18) and will mount a serious challenge to the meet record. Praise Olatoke comes to the Langley campus of TWU from Scotland for his first year here in Canada. Kenny Blackman Jr won the BC High School Championships over 100m last spring.
UBC Coach, Laurier Primeau announced a partial list of entries which include 2018 BC High School Champion over 200m, Alex Pescitelli. The freshman has personal best clockings of 100m-11.17, 200m-22.06 and 400m-48.81 coming in what was only his first season of competitive track and field.
Coach Primeau believes Pescitelli has a high ceiling and looks forward to helping him reach that potential.
"Alex embraces the intangible components beyond the athletic performances and the academic demands of university. We expect him to make a meaningful impact by sprinting fast, but also by helping to create a cohesive unit of speed-based athletes at UBC. The fact that he is so new to the sport makes us excited about the future for Alex".
Michael Aono (200m-21.94, 400m 47.91) will wear the UBC colours after a year’s absence, with a high likelihood of joining with hurdler, Bogdan Pavel (110mH-14.43) on Primeau’s 4x200m squad.
Full information is available at www.harryjerome.com
Stephen Abosi will compete at the Jerome Indoor Games in the 60m sprint on February 2nd to defend the title he won last year. The UBC graduate who is now a law student at the University of Calgary, holds the meet record he broke in 2018 with a time of 6.77 seconds. This student is from Botswana and hopes at some point he is able to compete internationally for his home country.
The Jerome Indoor Games is now in it’s 9th year at the Richmond Olympic Oval, considered by some, as one of the most important legacies of the 2010 Olympic Games. Meet Directors Vincent Doyle and Kim Young expect entries to match the 2018 total of just under 800 in the events which provide opportunities for age group as well as master athletes.
Entries close on January 25 just over 2 weeks away.
Coaches and athletes can enter here
Sprinter Andre De Grasse has swapped coaches, training bases
The three-time Olympic medallist will work with Rana Reider in Florida, in hopes of returning to his form from 2016.
TORONTO — Canadian sprint star Andre De Grasse has switched coaches in hopes of turning around a career derailed by injuries.
The three-time Olympic medallist is working with Rana Reider in Florida, leaving Stuart McMillan and the Altis group he’d been with since turning pro in December 2015.
“I felt like the time was right to make a change,” De Grasse said in an email to The Canadian Press. “Coach McMillan is a great coach and we had a lot of success together, but the past two years haven’t gone the way we hoped so we decided the best thing to do was make a change.”
De Grasse’s much-anticipated rematch with Usain Bolt at the 2017 world championships made international headlines, but the Canadian was forced to withdraw just days before the meet in London with a hamstring injury. He was then forced to shut down early last season when he suffered another hamstring strain to the same leg at the Canadian championships in Ottawa, slowing to a walk with about 40 metres to go.
The 24-year-old from Markham, Ont., hopes the switch will help him get back to top speed in a busy upcoming season that includes the world championships in Doha, Qatar and the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
“The coach I decided to put my faith in is Rana Reider,” De Grasse said. “He has an incredible history of success with athletes from all events. He had moved back to Florida from Europe to be close to his family so I decided to make the move to work with him in Florida.
“The climate is perfect for training and the university we are training at was very accommodating, so it made the decision very easy.”
Reider recently returned to the United States after coaching a group in the Netherlands that included Dutch sprint star Dafne Schippers. De Grasse is training with Reider at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.
De Grasse burst onto the international scene when he won double Pan Am Games gold in 2015 and bronze at the world championships later that summer. He captured silver in the 200 metres at the 2016 Rio Olympics and took bronze in both the 100 and 4×100 relay.
“2016 was an amazing year, culminating in a very successful Rio Games,” McMillan told The Canadian Press on Friday. “It has been very challenging since then, and the results have not been what any of us would have expected or hoped for. It became clear that Andre needed a change, and I wish him and his new coach the best of luck.
“I expect he will be back to the best very soon, and will be battling for a spot on the podium in Tokyo (Olympics) in 2020.”
De Grasse had been touted as the world’s next big sprint star when he turned pro, signing a multi-year deal with Puma worth about $11.25 million. It was the most lucrative initial contract in track and field history.
He hasn’t raced since the Canadian championships last July, and had said he was taking the break to enjoy time with his daughter Yuri, who was also born in July.
De Grasse said he’s back to full health now, but will skip the indoor track season and make his season debut in the spring.
The tradition of the high jump in British Columbia is difficult to match in any other track and field event or for that matter in sport generally. Many sports fans would link Vancouver’s past in track and field to world record holders and Olympic medalists, Percy Williams and Harry Jerome but the high jump event is full of history
The 1932 Olympic Champion in the high jump, Duncan McNaughton attend attended King Edward High School at 12th Avenue and Oak Street as did Percy Williams the 100m and 200m Olympic Champion. He attended the University of Southern California prior to taking the gold medal.
The 1976 Olympic medalist, Greg Joy attended Vancouver Technical Secondary School before attending the Univerity of Texas in El Paso
Debbie Brill from Haney, BC stands as the athlete who would leave the western role and the scissors technique to be the first in the world to create the “Brill Bend”. This back jumping technique swept around the world for the last 50 years. She set the world indoor record of 1.99m and her outdoor best of 1.98m still stands as the Canadian record.
The Harry Jerome Indoor Games plays a major role in stimulating young British Columbians to discover their potential. Our best current high jumpers, Mike Mason, Django Lovett, Alyx Treasure and Alexa Propaczy have participated indoors and outdoors at Jerome events.
Will we see the next candidates to continue this tradition of excellence on February 2nd at the Richmond Olympic Oval?
Bazil Spencer of Quesnel, BC won the 2018 Canadian Legion U18 National Track and Field Championships with a personal best jump of 2.01m. Weeks earlier he was approached by Dylan Armstrong at the BC High School Championships.
"I got 1.90m but I was jumping in my running shoes and I was sort of doing it for fun," said Spencer. "Then Dylan got a hold of me and he was like 'hey, you should train with me for a couple days and we'll see if we can fix some things.'"
Clearly this did and Bazil has moved from Quesnel to finish high school in Kamloops with the Olympic medalist, Dylan Armstrong as his coach.
Aiden Grout of Langley took the silver medal in the high jump at the U18 National Championships with 1.98m just behind Bazil Spencer. Aiden has a personal best of 2.00m. In 2017 he won the U16 National Champiopnships.
Aiden was selected by Athletics Canada to join the top U18 athletes in Canada to compete at the Jamaican U18 Invitational to be held in Kingston, Jamaica where he jumped 1.95m
Liam Espedido who will represent the Richmond Kajaks, has already committed to competing at the 2019 Jerome Indoor Games on February 2. He has jumped 1.90m. At 6’ 8.5”, Liam competed for the Canadian Youth National Volleyball Team as well his high jump career.
Coaches are urged to get their entries for the Jerome Indoor Games as soon as possible. Enter here.
As 2018 moves to the past quickly, 2019 jumps into action. Just 7 weeks from today the 9th Harry Jerome Indoor Games will attract track and field athletes from all over western Canada and the USA to test their skills in one of the great legacy’s of the 2010 Olympic Games. In the late months of 2010 the Richmond Olympic Oval underwent critical revision to become a hive of physical activity for the community.
The ROO is now able to accommodate a myriad of sports including indoor track and field, basketball, hockey, table tennis, rock climbing, weight training, indoor cycling and rowing, baseball, volleyball and more.
Achilles International Track and Field Society and the Richmond Kajaks Track and Field Club have hosted the HJIG since 2011. This meet is designed to provide opportunities U10 youths to U80 seniors to demonstrate the physical fitness through indoor track and field.
Organizers from the host organizations met with the administrators of the Richmond Olympic Oval to take inventory of the site needed to insure another successful event set for Saturday, February 2, 2019.
The 2018 Harry Jerome Indoor Games was the biggest and best in many ways. Not only did Greg Stewart of Kamloops win the shot put in his journey to represent Canada in the World Para Athletics Championships but 437 athletes from 29 clubs from British Columbia, Alberta and Washington produced 780 entries on Saturday, February 3rd at the Richmond Olympic Oval.
Athletes from 9 years to 80 years broke 2 dozen records in the eighth edition of this indoor track and field competition. Past Olympians participated in the opening ceremonies before a crowd of over 1000 spectators. Entry information is found here. https://www.harryjerome.com/news-from-the-track/2018/10/29/entry-bulletin-for-9th-annual-jerome-indoor-games