British Columbia has been well known for the site of the Abbotsford Airshow for over 50 years. But now there is a growing awareness of another type of highflier. This reputation of defying gravity has no jet engines but tremendous muscular energy released by fast twitch fibers of the entire body. Yes, this is not high flying but high jumping. Perhaps this new breed should be named the “Ziggy's Air Force”.
The number one flier is Mike Mason, the silver medalist at the 2015 Pan American Games who jumped 2.33m this past season. This UBC graduate was 8th at the 2012 Olympic Games and took the bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Mike’s commanding officer in the “Ziggy's Air Force” is coach Ziggy Szelagowicz who has a successful record for the Valley Royals Track Club and Fraser Valley Regional Center coach for the high jump. Ziggy, who is a graduate of the Polish Institute of Coaching, has a vast background in the jumps, hurdles and sprint events.
He is developing a squad of fine athletes lead by Michael Mason. Django Lovett, graduate of the University of New Mexico, has represented Canada at the World University Games and has a personal best of 2.21m. Both these athletes opened their 2016 indoor season in Seattle on January 16 by tying for first at the University of Washington indoor competition with jumps of 2.18m. Mike and Django have aspirations of the Olympic Games. Clearly Mike has landed a spot on Canada's squad bound for Rio with his 2.33m jump in 2015. Django has his work cutout for him as he needs to improve his personal best as the Olympic Standard is 2.29m.
Joel Della Siega is ranked the number one U18 jumper in Canada with a best of 2.06m. The Elgin Park Secondary student has committed to compete for UBC next fall and competed in the World Youth Championships in Cali, Columbia last summer.
Alexa Porpaczy of Semiahmoo Secondary won the National U16 title last summer and has a best of 1.74m
The majority of the squad will have a warm weather training camp down south in early February. However U18 athletes, Bryce MacKenzie and Mike Lambert will compete in the 2016 Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Indoor Games at the Richmond Olympic Oval on Saturday, February 6th. Bryce was the silver medalist at the National U16 Championships last summer and he has a best 1.88m. Mike Lambert was second at the BC High School Championships with a best of 1.88m. Both of these Hatzic Secondary student- athletes have the Jerome Indoor Games record of 1.80m in sight. James Elsom of Nor’westers set this mark in 2013.
The Jerome Indoor Games provides opportunity for athletes of all ages from 10 yrs. to 70+ years on the 5 lanes of the 200m Pulastic track. This competition is an important step towards the 2016 Rio Olympic Games set for this August and for all young athletes with the dream of wearing the Maple Leaf sometime in the future
Information for entry is available at www.harryjerome.com
Entries close on January 29, 2016.
Early entries are advised, as space may be limited