He picked up a javelin for the first time just a year ago as a high school senior at Ashbury College. Flash forward one year and Roan Allen has increased his lifetime best by more than nine metres and today earned his first Canadian title.
Allen surpassed his lifetime best of 57.93m an astonishing five times on his way to a new record of 62.68m this morning. The University of British Columbia student credited the improvement to a change made in his grip suggested by multiple national champion Kyle Neilsen.
“It’s good, but it’s kind of disappointing,” said Allen of his failure to surpass the Pan Am Junior Championship standard of 60 metres before last month’s deadline. “I just wanted to come in and prove that I could hit it and I did it twice.”
Advancing to the senior women’s 200m final were Charifa Labarang and Olympian Farah Jacques who qualified third and fifth respectively to tomorrow’s final. Labarang did so in a lifetime best of 23.86 seconds.
For the 22 year old sprinter originally from Cameroon, Labarang says she has struggled to regain the form she that made her one of the top juniors in the country.
“This is my first time running at senior nationals, so I’m happy to get that express ticket to the finals,” said Labarang after her semi-final win. “Now I want to place, even though I can’t get a medal.”
As a Cameroonian citizen, Charifa is ineligible for a medal in tomorrow’s final,but she will be representing her native country later this summer at Les Jeux de la Francophonie in the Ivory Coast.
Reilly Jones was another athlete to break through a four year rut as she ran her way to a new personal best of 1:02.35 in the 400m hurdle semi-final to finish 10th overall.
Jones credited her breakthrough performance to staying “really positive and not worrying very much about other people in the race – just focusing on what I can control.”
The Canadian Track and Field Trials continue Saturday night with Olympians Sultana Frizell and Melissa Bishop vying for another Canadian title.