With 49 days to go before the 20th Commonwealth Games kick off in Glasgow, Scotland five Ottawa Lions athletes have been given the nod to suit up for Team Canada. Leading the Lions contingent will be 2010 medallists Sultana Frizell and Josh Cassidy as they will be joined by Olympians Melissa Bishop and Oluwasegun Makinde as well as Pan Am Games finalist Michael Robertson.
Heading in to the Games, hammer thrower Sultana Frizell is a strong favourite to repeat her gold medal winning performance from four years ago. The Perth native is having the best season of her life, currently ranked second in the world following her recent Canadian record throw of 75.73m. The Commonwealth record holder’s toughest competition is likely to come Olympic finalist Sophie Hitchon of England. Strangely enough, Hitchon is the former pupil of Frizell’s coach Derek Evely.
For Cassidy, he’ll be looking to improve on his bronze medal in Delhi. The multiple Canadian champion is currently ranked 16th in the world with a season’s best performance of 3:05.24 for 1500m. He will be looking to challenge the likes of Kurt Fearnley of Australia and David Weir of England for a spot atop the podium.
While this will be the first Commonwealth Games experience for the trio of Bishop, Makinde and Robertson, all enter with years of international seasoning. Bishop will be looking to build on the experience gained from both the London Olympics and last year’s world championships in Moscow as she looks to advance to her first major international final. She appears well positioned early in the season with a yearly best of 2:00.52 for 800m and a top ten global ranking.
Makinde and Robertson were named to the men’s 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relay teams respectively, roles they both filled at the recent IAAF World Relay Championships.
The athletics portion of the Games begins July 27th with Sultana Frizell kicking things off in hammer throw qualifying.