By Brian Pound
RICHMOND—Greg Stewart of Kamloops has quite an impressive athletic resume...All-Canada honors during a five-year basketball career at Thompson River University...three world championships as a member of Canada’s national men’s volleyball team...has played hockey, lacrosse and baseball...and on Saturday at the Harry Jerome Indoor Games presented by TELUS he competed in his first Open men’s shot put competition and won.
Not bad for a man of 32 with just one arm.
You could also say he stood out somewhat. He stands 7 feet 2 inches tall.
Born without a left arm from the elbow down, this amazing athlete is being coached in the shot put by one of the best, former Olympic bronze medalist Dylan Armstrong, also a native of Kamloops. While Stewart’s winning throw of 13.10 metres was well of the meet record of 14.55 metres, Armstrong was nonetheless satisfied. “It was a good start,” he said. “We’re on the right track but we’ve still got lots of work to do. The plan is to come out strong this summer.”
The goal is for Stewart to qualify for the World ParaLYMPIC Games next year in London. And if he makes it, one thing is for sure. He won’t be hard to find in the field.
Meanwhile, 14 records were broken during the meet that saw a record number of participants. One of the most impressive record-breaking performances came from the fleeting feet of University of Calgary’s Stephen Abosi. A former UBC sprinter now taking law in Calgary, Abosi broke his own meet record of 6.89 seconds in his semi-final race hitting the tape in 6.88 seconds then showed his heels to the rest of the field in the final, dropping the record to 6.77 seconds.
One other record fell in the Open men’s competition, Ryan Cheng of Vancouver Thunderbirds lowered the 60-metre hurdle mark from 8.28 seconds to 8.23 seconds.
The meet produced two double winners. Matti Erickson of Kootenay Chaos track club established a meet record in the Midget (14-15) boy’s 1200 metres, bringing the old mark of 3:32.45 down to 3:24.51. He just missed a second record in winning the 600-metres, finishing in 1:28.53. The meet mark remains at 1:28.15.
Katarina Vlaholic of Universal Athletics didn’t break any records but she won both the Open women’s 60-met re hurdles (8.89 seconds) and the 60-metre sprint (7.75 seconds),
Of the meet records broken, five others came in the age-group Midget division, athletes 9-15 years.
Kim Young, Meet Director commended the 29 clubs attending, “ The efforts of coaches across the province made this event the highlights of the indoor season.”
OUTSTANDING CATEGORY WINNERS
U18 MEN—Jarrett Chong (South Surrey Athletics)