VICTORIA – Athletes competing in this year’s Victoria International Track Classic (VITC) have lots to push for including the chance to win $20,000 by breaking a Canadian record. As of yet, there hasn’t been a Canadian athlete who has taken the National Track League (NTL) up on their offer but Victoria’s Track Classic could break this trend.
“We have several athletes who will be pushing their limits in an effort to achieve a Canadian record and win the $20,000 prize money,” said Keith Butler, the VITC meet director. “Those athletes include current Canadian record holder in the javelin, Elizabeth Gleadle and 2014 Canadian champion Melissa Bishop in the women’s 800 meters.”
A perfect storm for the 800-meter race is set for Tuesday evening with three of those athletes at varying stages in their running careers. Diane Cummins, a Track Classic favourite, will be making Victoria her official retirement race and is coming off a bronze medal at the recent national championships. Adding to the mix is the current national champion Melissa Bishop who has a seasonal best of 2:00.52. And finally the up-and-coming local talent Rachel Francois who ranks 5th in country with a 2:02.18 will be charging for a strong finish. Bishop will challenge Cummins’ Canadian record of 1:58.39 on Tuesday in hopes of winning the NTL prize money. She has a personal best of 1:59.76, which she accomplished in 2013 at Victoria’s Track Classic.
Other athletes to watch for at this year’s Track Classic are listed in the following events:
Mens 800 meters – This will be a Canadian showdown with local favourite Thomas Riva who was 4th at the recent Canadian Championships and Anthony Romaniw from Ontario who placed 2nd. Also in the running will be Leoman Momah of Nigeria with a personal best of 1:46.07.
Women’s 800 meters – Christina Rodgers from the U.S. has run a 2:01.75 earlier this year and will take on some of Canada’s finest including national champion Melissa Bishop who has run a 2:00.52 earlier this year, Victoria athlete Rachel Francois ranked 5th in Canada at 2:02.18 and Diane Cummins, bronze medalist at the recent national championships and Canadian record holder with a seasonal best of 2:02.36.
Women’s Javelin – Canadian record holder Elizabeth Gleadle will compete and shoot for yet another Canadian record at this year’s Track Classic. Gleadle has broken the Canadian record twice already this year with a throw of 64.50 meters.
Mens 100 meters – Americans Mickey Grimes (9.99) and Joseph Morris (10.09) will battle it out with Canadian Gavin Smellie who has a personal best of 10.11 and was part of the bronze medal World Championship 4 x 100 meter relay team in 2013.
Mens 400 meters – Charles Jock, an 800-meter specialist from the U.S. will take on young, Canadian Olympian Daundre Barnaby (45.47) and Akheem Gauntlett (45.00) from Jamaica, a world indoor bronze medalist.
Mens Javelin – Three Americans who have all thrown over 80 meters will be vying for this year’s Track Classic title, Cyrus Hostetler, Sean Furey and Craig Kinsley.
Mens Shot Put – Canadian Champion Tim Nedow will battle the grounds with American Jordan Clark and Asian Games gold medalist Ming-Huang Chang of Taiwan. Two-time Olympian Amin Nikfar of Iran is also competing in this event.
Women’s 100 meter hurdles – Canadian Phylicia George, ranked #1 in Canada at 13.08. will be challenged by American Nicole Denby who has a seasonal best of 13.21 and Kierre Beckles of Barbados with a seasonal best of 12.98.
Women’s 1500 meters – Canadian Kate Van Buskirk leads the way for Canada in this event with a 4:06.97 this year. She is the 2014 Canadian Champion in this event.
Women’s 400 meters – Brianna Nelson of the U.S. a 52-second 400-meter runner will challenge Canadian Carline Muir who tops the rankings this year with a 52.76.
Women’s Hammer – U.S. athlete Jessica Cosby-Toruga is favoured in this event with personal best of throw of 74.20.
Women’s Long Jump – Arantxa King from Bermuda is a two-time Olympian will be competing.