Lions pick up 14 medals on final two days of championships

Moncton — It was a successful final two days at the Canadian Championships for the Ottawa Lions as both able bodied and athletes with a disability combined to bring home 14 more medals to raise the total from the championship to 25.

In the final session of the championship, former roommates Sultana Frizell and Melissa Bishop each captured national titles and confirmed there place on the Canadian team that will participate in Moscow this August. Both athletes entered as the top seed in the respective events and looked comfortable on their way to victory.

With the women’s 800m going through the opening lap in 62 seconds, it was clear no IAAF A standards would be set and that a victory would be essential to ensure a spot on the world championship team for Bishop. As she has done countless times, Melissa bided her time before utilizing her speed to sprint away from the field. In the final meters, with victory comfortably within her reach, the normally quiet Bishop threw up her hands in excitement at her first senior national title in 2:02.84.

In the field, Sultana Frizell took back the national crown that had eluded her the past two years as her throw of 68.23m topped the field by more than four meters. Frizell did have some longer throws, but had trouble keeping the ball within the sector lines as her fifth round effort cracked a hole in the 70m marker. With one of the biggest personalities in the sport, Frizell would later accept her gold medal after performing a cart wheel on to the medal stand.

Other gold medals came from Paralympian Brandon King who doubled up in the T12 100m and 200m with times of 12.30 and 25.00 seconds respectively. Fellow Paralympians Jon Dunkerley (T11 100m), Rachael Burrows (T34 200m) and Curtis Thom (T54 200m) also picked up sprint championships over the two days. Meanwhile Josh Cassidy continued to show his vast range by grabbing a silver in the T54 800m less than 24 hours after picking up the 10,000m title in 24:09.97.

The final gold of the championship came from one of the last events as Devin Biocchi, Oluwasegun Makinde, Michael Robertson and Gordon Frenke combined to win gold in the 4x100m relay in a time of 40.22 seconds, beating a composite team of Ontario runners.. The time is the second best performance ever by the club, just 0.07 seconds off the club record of 40.15 set in 2011 by Makinde, Robertson and Olympians Oluseyi Smith and Richard Adu-Bobie. In addition to their relay gold, Robertson and Makinde each picked up individual bronze – Robertson in the 400m and Makinde in the 200m. Makinde, in fact, missed silver by the narrowest of margins, 0.002 seconds, losing to Olympic teammate Jared Connaughten of PEI.

Rounding out the medalists from the weekend were Adam Palamar and Sekou Kaba who repeated as silver medalist in the 110m hurdles in a time of 14.03 seconds. Kaba, who battled injuries most of the indoor season, had been in the lead most of the race before giving up critical hundredths of a second after hitting hurdles eight and nine. He was beaten to the line by Ingvar Mosley of Toronto by just 0.02 seconds.

In the men’s 1500m, Adam Palamar did what no Ottawa Lion male had been able to do since 1998 – win a national championship medal. Despite still being a junior aged athlete, Palamar has showed he can run with the “big boys” after finishing second, as the top Canadian, in the most recent NTL stop in Toronto with a personal best time of 3:41. In the final, Adam bided his time in the middle of the pack before making a surge with 400m to go. He would eventually be passed by Olympian Nathan Brannen with 200m to go and finally by Jeremy Rae in the homestretch. Palamar will look to add to his national medal tally later next month as he sets out to defend his junior title in St. Therese, Quebec.

From this championship, seven athletes have secured their spot on a world championship team and are as follows.

Selected to represent Canada at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Moscow are:

  • Melissa Bishop – 800m
  • Sultana Frizell – Hammer Throw

Selected to represent Canada at the IPC World Athletic Championships in Lyon are:

  • Josh Cassidy – T54 Wheelchair
  • Jason Dunkerley and guide Joshua Karanja – T11 Ambulatory
  • Jon Dunkerley and guide Brian Cummings – T11 Ambulatory
  • Curtis Thom – T54 Wheelchair
  • Rachael Burrows – T34 Wheelchair