BY BRIAN POUND
Ask Ontario’s Melissa Bishop what her top three priorities are for this year’s track and field season and she answers back: personal best time, podium finish at the London World championships and have fun and stay healthy.
Bishop, holder of both the Canadian Indoor (2:00.19) and Outdoor (1:1:57.02) 800-metre records and currently the fifth ranked 800-metre woman in the world, will compete July 28 at the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome Track Classic at Coquitlam’s Perry Percy Stadium.
She is no stranger to the meet, having competed at it over the past dozen years and last year establishing a meet record of 1:58.79, breaking Diane Cummins’ 2004 mark of 1:59.78.
Bishop joins Canadian sprint phenom andtriple-Olympic medalist Andre De Grasse as headliners at this year’s Jerome event, which gets underway at 6:30 p.m. More top names for the meet will be announced once they are confirmed.
Bishop’s resume is impressive: Silver medal in the 800-metres at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, becoming the firstCanadian woman to medal in this event; gold medal in the 800 at the Toronto Pan American Games; competed for Canada at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.
Aaah, yes, those 2016 Olympics. It is a story repeated often in Canadian Athletics circles. Bishop was in third place 50-metres from the wire when she was suddenly passed by Margaret Wambui, beating Bishop to the wire by 0.13 seconds. It hurt, losing like that but Bishop`s time was a Canadian record.
Asked by this reporter if it still sat in the back of her mind, she replied: Ìt will always be there no matter what, losing the medal like that. I`ve just got to move forward, try and put it out of my mind and just focus on this year.``
This year begins for Bishop on May 20 when she will run a 1500-metre race in a regional meet in Windsor. Then it`s on to the Diamond League and races in Eugene, Oslo and Stockholm before coming home to Canada for the Jerome and the national championships in Ottawa July 6-9, the meet that will determine Canada`s team to the London World Athletics Championships.
Tickets for the Jerome are selling fast. Less than 50 percent of reserved seats are left and close to 50 percent of General Admission seats have been sold. Tickets are available at www.harryjerome.com.