Where Your Dreams Become Reality
Gary Reed a Runaway Winner at Harry Jerome
Canadian 800-metre record holder
Gary Reed showcased the power that earned him a 2007 world championship
silver medal, winning the men’s 800 metres Saturday in what was a
day of highlights and emotion at the 25th annual Vancouver
Sun Harry Jerome International Track Classic.
Victoria-based Reed was a runaway
winner in the two-lap event at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium, recording
his second season-best time in as many days with a 1:45.44 effort. Andrew
Ellerton of Sudbury, Ont., took second at 1:46.50 followed by Switzerland’s
Ueli Albert in 1:48.46.
“I ran a season best two
nights ago in Victoria, 1:45.66, today it’s another best,” said
26-year-old Reed, who holds the Canadian record of 1:43.93 set in 2006.
“I have to be happy with
back-to-back 1:45s. That’s the best I’ve done at this time of year
and I’m very happy with it, especially my good, strong finish. Now
I’ve got the national Olympic trials followed by four meets in Europe
in July, where I will be sharpening with some really fast races. That
should tune me up and get me ready for the Olympics.”
The 25th annual
Jerome meet, named in honour of great Canadian sprinter Harry Jerome
who passed away suddenly in 1982, offered local track fans an intriguing
mélange of superb efforts, unexpected results and five meet records
– four recorded in the same event – in what was an important opportunity
for Canadian athletes to attain Olympic qualifying standards prior to
the July 3-6 national Olympic Trials in Windsor, Ont.
Toronto’s Priscilla Lopes-Schliep
rewrote her Jerome meet record in the women’s 100-metre hurdles, powering
to victory in 12.86 seconds to erase her previous meet mark of 12.98
earned in 2005. Lopes-Schliep went on to win the women’s 100 metres
in 11.61 seconds to cap a successful day as she works to toward the
2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Meantime, San Diego-based discus
throwers Jarred Rome and Ian Waltz waged a compelling, two-way battle
on Canadian soil that saw them erase the meet record not once, but four
times, during the afternoon. The existing mark of 61.80 metres was set
in 1988 by Canadian Ray Lazdins but Waltz improved on that mark with
his first toss of 62.26 metres. After fouling on his second effort Waltz
then rewrote what was now his meet record with a 63.23-metre throw.
In the next round he improved it again with a 64.32.
But Rome had the last laugh,
unleashing a meet record throw of his own in the fifth round, a 64.34
that was ultimately the event winner.
“Really, it was a horrible
day but I had that one good throw,” said Rome. “We always compete
really well against each other. At the New York Grand Prix I was ahead
by about four centimetres and in the last round he won. I only had one
good throw today. I was pretty lucky to have it.”
For his part Waltz, a two-time
U.S. champion, conceded his longtime rival won the battle but their
friendly discus war will surely continue.
“That’s what’s made us
one-two in the U.S. for the past four years,” said Waltz. “Competing
against each other makes us better not only in practice but in meets.
Two centimetres is close – I had a pretty decent series going. I’ve
been averaging 66 metres all year so it wasn’t quite what I wanted
today. But it helps me get ready for Olympic trials.”
The most inspiring, and unexpected effort, of the meet came from 26-year-old Taylor Milne of Guelph, Ont. Milne hacked an impressive 3.5 seconds off his personal best to win the men’s 1,500 metres in 3:36.00. The effort also earned Milne the Athletics Canada A-plus qualification standard for the upcoming Olympics in Beijing.
“I ran a 3:39.54 a couple
of weeks ago, I won by about three seconds and did a lot of leading,”
said Milne, who with 300 metres remaining grabbed the lead from Canadian
record holder Kevin Sullivan and never looked back. “So I knew there
might be a couple more seconds in there, I didn’t know if there was
three. It ended up being three and a half. I’m a bit surprised, but
not super surprised.”
For her part, Lopes-Schliep
embraced her season best time and meet record as proof she is right
on course in her preparation for the Beijing Olympics.
“I’m very pleased,” she
said. “The times are coming down consistently and that’s my focus
for Beijing. I’m happy where I’m at right now. I’m a very
consistent runner. This is on point for nationals and later for the
Olympics. I’m looking forward to big things.”
Meantime, Kamloops shot putter
Dylan Armstrong returned to Swangard, site of a breakthrough performance
at the 2007 Jerome meet that saw him toss a personal best 20.72 to win
the meet, qualify for the Pan-Am Games where he won a gold medal and
then went on to finish ninth at the world championships. Earlier this
year he set a Canadian shot put record of 20.92 metres.
He won the shot put Saturday
with a 20.57-metre effort, which he described as more than adequate
given he is currently in a heavy phase of training.
“Last year was a pretty good
season but I want to make this one even better,” said Armstrong, who
switched his focus to shot put three years ago after many years of competing
in hammer throw. “ I want to get one over 21 metres at the Olympics,
that’s what it’s going to take to medal. I’ve been throwing
over 21 in practice so it just has to come together on the day.”