At the annual Athletics Ontario Awards Banquet held Saturday night in Toronto, four Lions picked up provincial hardware. Among those honoured was hammer thrower Sultana Frizell, who took home the award for Ontario’s top senior female thrower for the sixth straight year. Frizell, the only woman to win the award since its inception in 2008, had a very successful campaign in 2013, which included winning her fourth Canadian Senior Championship in July, and a 16th place finish at the IAAF World Championships in August.
Other victors on the evening included middle distance runners Adam Palamar and Melissa Bishop, while wheelchair racer Curtis Thom picked up the award for most outstanding track performance by a male in para-athletics.
Palamar, who received the award for top junior male distance runner, had a breakout summer in 2013. After just missing qualifying for the 1500m at the NCAA Championships in June, the University of Tulsa student returned home to finish second at the Toronto NTL stop, where he dropped nearly five seconds off his personal best, running 3:41.34. Success would continue for Palamar as he executed a very tactical race plan to finish third at the Canadian Senior Championships, before reaching the climax of his season at the NTL Vancouver stop. In Vancouver, Adam finished sixth, but his time of 3:38.92 eclipsed Kevin Sullivan’s 21 year old Canadian Junior record. The Merivale High School grad culminated his season by capturing his second straight Canadian Junior title over 1500m.
For 800m runner Melissa Bishop, the podium was a little crowded as she shared the award for top senior female distance runner with world championship teammates Sheila Reid and Kate Van Buskirk. Bishop’s season was highlighted by another personal best and provincial record, 1:59.76, her first Canadian Senior Championship and an appearance at the IAAF World Championships.
For Thom, one of Canada’s premier wheelchair races at 400m and under, 2013 was one to remember. He was awarded the After sweeping the T54 100m, 200m and 400m at the Canadian Championships, Thom rolled to gold as part of the championship record setting Canadian 4x400m relay team at the IPC Championships in Lyon, France. Thom was also a finalist over 200m and 400m at the global championships. Thom’s season culminated in a bronze medal effort at the recent Jeux de la Francophonie in Nice, France.
Also receiving consideration for provincial honours were bantam sprinter Lauren Gale, midget distance runner Owen Day, and decathletes Matthew Johnson (junior), Mark Chenery (senior) and Patrick Arbour (senior).