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Victoria Track Classic bringing in the big guns as well as fast local talent

The Victoria Track Classic taking place June 19 at the University of Victoria will feature many Rio Olympic hopefuls and future international athletes.

Catch all the action at Centennial Stadium on Father’s Day!

The University of Victoria Vikes track teams (men’s and women’s) are perennially at or near the top of the Western Conference in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Championships, they have won national championships on occasion too, for example the men defeated the nation’s best in Guelph, Ontario at the 2015 CIS Cross Country Championships.

The challenge is to constantly recruit new talent, while nurturing and motivating the veterans that are currently in place.

One recruit, starting for the men’s side in September 2016, is Reynolds Secondary grad Brendan Hoff.

Hoff, originally from Campbell River had his choice of NCAA Division 1 schools to attend, but he decided to stay on the island, attending high school at Reynolds Secondary and attending the University of Victoria starting in September.

He turned down 26 NCAA offers.  Read more

2016 could be last ride for Wariner

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner will make his Victoria International Track Classic debut Sunday, June 19 at Centennial Stadium. Wariner has never raced in Victoria before but sees the event as an opportunity to strengthen his chances of making his fourth Olympics. 

Wariner, 32, has been dominating the 400 metre event since his days at Baylor University. The McKinney, Texas, native’s personal best time of 43.45 is the third fastest time in 400 metre history. He won Olympic gold medals in the 400 metres and 4×400 metre relay in Athens in 2004, as well as another gold medal in the relay event in Beijing in 2008. He competed in the 2012 Olympics in London but was forced to pull out due to injury. 

Jeremy Wariner“My athletic career changed dramatically (after 2004),” said Wariner. “I had to start training even harder than I ever had. I had a large target on my back and had to make sure every time I stepped on the track I was in top shape.”

Warner is closer to the end of his career than the beginning but sees 2016 as chance to make his fourth, and perhaps final, Olympics. Despite all his accolades and career earnings, his love for the sport has been tough to give up. 

“This is something I do because I love to run,” said Wariner. “I am blessed to have been able to travel the world doing something that I love. It is awesome to have so many young athletes look up to me as a role model.” 

With his career winding down, Wariner admits he tries to live in the moment and enjoy every race. 

“Beyond 2016 is hard to see at this moment,” said Wariner. “I’m just focused on each day in front of me. I will look at 2017 once this season is completely over with.” 

Gold standard: World and Pan Am Champion Derek Drouin to compete in Victoria

Christopher Kelsall

Drouin_Flash

Photo credit: Andy Wong/AP

The Road to the Rio Olympic Games is littered with hurdles, or high-jump bars in the case of Corunna, Ontario native Derek Drouin.

Although he is one of the top elites in the world in his event, qualification comes in one, single and final competition taking place in TrackTown, Canada (Edmonton) from July 7 to July 10. Regardless of how “ready” a Canadian athlete gets themselves in advance of the Rio Olympic trials; they still need to perform top-two during the meet and in some cases top-three. Drouin is no exception. He will be in Victoria to fine tune his game.

The twenty-six-year-old, six-foot, five-inch jumper is the defending IAAF World Track and Field Championships gold medallist. He is coming to Victoria, June 19th in preparation to take on the world during the Rio trials and likely the Rio Games.

“I’m excited to compete in Victoria for my first time,” said the former Indiana Hoosiers athlete. “It’s a privilege for us, as Canadian athletes, to compete on Canadian soil, rather than having to fly to Europe to find great competition, especially in an Olympic year.”

Drouin is well versed in preparing for global competition. In addition to being the reining defending world champion, he is also the defending 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and 2015 Toronto Pan American Games gold medallist as well as the 2012 NCAA Division 1 champion. He earned bronze medals during the 2012 London Olympics and 2013 Moscow Worlds, but his standard is now gold and he will be seeking Olympic glory for Canada this summer.

Drouin would have to perform the most tremendous meltdown to not make Team Canada, but this is track and field, anything can and usually does happen.

Victoria serves as an important date on the competition schedule for all participating athletes including Drouin. The Victoria Track Classic is part of the National Track League; a five event series that takes place each year in Halifax, Guelph, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria.

“I’m thankful that the National Track League for gives us that opportunity,” shared Drouin.

The Victoria Track Classic is happening June 19 at the University of Victoria’s Centennial Stadium and will feature some of the most talented track and field athletes in Canada and the world, who will be seeking Olympic calibre performances in sprints, middle-distance and various throws events. The Victoria Track Classis is a major track meet for Canada and an opportunity for Victoria sport fans to get out and enjoy high level sport.