(Victoria, BC) The Victoria International Track Classic will see some rivalries and battles on Sunday July 3. The 23rd annual event – now part of the inaugural National Track League – features a strong field including Khadevis Robinson, Dylan Armstrong, Jessica Zelinka, Ruky Abdulai, Carly Dockendorf, Mary Saxer and Lemlem Ogbasilassie. In honour of Gary Reed’s recent retirement the 800m men’s event will be named the Gary Reed 800m.
United States 800m sensation Khadevis Robinson will be hoping to break his own record of 1:43:68 in the Gary Reed 800m, the last event of the meet. Coincidentally Gary Reed holds the same time – a Canadian record and personal best. Robinson won the
Rome Golden Gala 800m (Samsung Diamond League) in May in 1:45:07, and has won eight USA championships – four outdoor and four indoor. He was the 1998 NCAA Outdoor champion and four-time USA Outdoor runner-up. Many of Canada’s top 800m runners will compete in the Gary Reed 800m including top three ranked Andrew Ellerton, Kyle Smith and Quin Ferguson, all from Victoria.
Track Classic favourite Dylan Armstrong is back, and after a successful showing at the Canadian Track and Field Championships last week is now ranked #1 thrower in the world. Now top of the Diamond League, the Kamloops native has posted five of the year’s top 10 distances, and he broke the Canadian record at the nationals on four of his six throws, throwing 22:21 on his final throw.
Heptathletes Jessica Zelinka and Ruky Abdulai will be battling it out in their seven events. A preview was seen at the nationals last week when Abdulai set three personal bests in the 100m hurdles, 200m and the javelin. Zelinka, the 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medalist was upset by just 18 points, guaranteeing that Abdulai will be selected for the world championships this August in South Korea.
In the pole vault there will be a tussle between national champion Carly Dockendorf and American Mary Saxer. Dockendorf, who won Bronze at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, will be hungry as she seeks to meet the world championship entry standard.
The women’s 800m will be a repeat of the nationals with eight finalists competing, headlined by the Canadian number one Lemlem Ogbasilassie. She came second at the nationals and has achieved two PB’s – at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational,
Stanford, CA (800m – 2:01:75) placing 2nd, and at the Sun Devil Open, Tempe, AZ (1500m – 4:18:73) which she won.
The Victoria International Track Classic is one of five meets that make up the inaugural National Track League (NTL). On top of taking aim at one of the ten available NTL titles, participating athletes will have a chance to earn Canadian only prize money in NTL identified events and through NTL performance bonus prize money. Canadian and international athletes are also eligible to earn open prize money offered by each competition. www.trackclassic.com.
2011 National Track League Schedule
Edmonton International Track Classic, Edmonton, AB, June 29
Harry Jerome International Track Classic, Vancouver, BC, July 1
Victoria International Track Classic, Victoria, BC, July 3
Aileen Meagher International Track Classic, Halifax, NS, July 10
Toronto International Track & Field Games (NTL Finale), Toronto, ON, July 13
The Victoria International Track Classic is a recipient of the Hosting BC grant funding. With support from the Province, the Hosting BC program assists sport event organizers to maintain a high profile and enhance their hosting skills and experiences. Hosting sport events provides a significant economic boost to a host community, builds the volunteer base, and supports the sport development pathway.