By Erica Wiebe
Only a few coveted spots on the Canadian Olympic team are available at this week’s track and field trials, but for 35 current and former University of Calgary Dinos, the venue might just provide some home field advantage.
The Foothills Athletic Park, literally across the street from campus, plays host to the 2012 Canadian Olympic trials June 27-July 3, and the competing Dinos will be looking to punch their tickets across the Atlantic for the London 2012 Games.
The trials take place over four days at the Foothills complex, beginning Wednesday. The first two days of competition involve the qualification rounds where athletes who have not met the Canadian qualifying standards within the last year will race for an opportunity to compete in the championship.
The field is packed with Canadian household names, none larger than former Dino Sam Effah, who will look to defend his Canadian championship and earn a berth to London.
Canada’s fastest man two years running, Effah has battled injury of late and will need a performance of 10.18 seconds or better to qualify for London in his specialty, the 100-metre dash. Effah has also registered for the 200m.
Another Dinos alum, Jessica Zelinka, is in top form in preparation for the trials having already made the A+ Olympic standard. All that remains to book her ticket to London is to place in the top three at the trials – and Zelinka finished fifth in the heptathlon in Beijing back in 2008 with a Canadian record of 6,490 points. She is also a threat to make the team in the 100-metre hurdles.
Many current Dinos will also be on the track this weekend looking to prove themselves on home soil. Second year science student and national team member Rachel Machin is gearing up for the high jump despite battling through injury for most of this season.
“A lot of athletes feel they need to do well all the time, but I’ve accepted some setbacks and am looking work through it to be better,” Machin said.
The full schedule and ticket information can be found at www.2012trials.ca.
Sam Effah, 100m, 200m
Current Dinos athletes
Brad Bickley, 800m