Nanaimo is becoming a place where track and field champions are made.
The Nanaimo Track and Field Club is hosting another provincial meet this weekend. The B.C. Athletics Track and Field Championship Jamboree goes Friday through Sunday (July 15-17) at Rotary Bowl stadium.
“This is pretty huge, seeing how it’s a provincial meet, so it really means a lot,” said Ben Toth, a sprinter at the Nanaimo Track and Field Club. “To anyone who’s trying out for the national teams, also for any other athletes trying to compete at a higher level, this meet really gives everyone a chance to showcase how good they can do on a provincial level.”
The jamboree is for the older age groups – midget, youth, junior and senior. Members of Canada’s Olympic team are on the start list for the 1,500-metre race, including Natasha Wodak, Lucas Bruchet and Chris Winter.
Tyler Heisterman, coach of the Nanaimo track club, said athletes are all in top form at this time of year.
Hassy Fashina-Bombata in the 200-metre race is one of the strongest hopefuls to advance to youth nationals, and many others will be in medal contention in their various divisions.
“Nanaimo holds a pretty high standard and I think this year, especially, we’ll do fairly well, if not very well, because we’ve got some pretty high-level athletes here at the club,” Toth said.
He said home track is not only an advantage, but motivation to show hometown pride.
Kaitlyn Watson, a triple jump competitor, said she expects Nanaimo athletes to do especially well with their hometown advantage.
“Sometimes it’s really stressful to go to a track you’ve never been to,” she said. “And I’ve always jumped that pit, since I was nine years old. So it’s just really comfortable there.”
“It gets easier from a confidence perspective, knowing you can handle it and do it,” Heisterman said. “We have brought a lot of events to Nanaimo this year so you’re asking a lot of your volunteers, but we’ve got a great team and we’re feeling really good about the event.”
The meet begins Friday at 2 p.m. The senior 1,500m finals are Saturday at 11:45 a.m., the 100m dash finals are at 2:35 p.m. Saturday and the 200m finals are at 2:40 p.m. on Sunday. For full schedule information, please click here.