Javelin thrower spears new record
Jun 11, 2012 / 6:02 am
Liz Gleadle had been awaiting this opportunity for a long time.
She didn't disappoint her fans, or herself, on Sunday.
The 23-year-old Vancouver native set a new Canadian record at the Harry Jerome Track Classic, tossing her javelin 61.15 metres to all but confirm her first Olympic berth this summer in London.
"I love this meet, I love competing at home, my whole family was going to be here, and it was exactly what I wanted to do," said Gleadle, who estimated she had 30 family members and friends on hand for the meet at Swangard Stadium.
Gleadle, who now trains in Lethbridge, Alta., set the record on her first attempt.
"As soon as it left my hand, it was like, 'Yes, this is it!'" she said.
Gleadle broke her previous record of 59.85 metres and needs only to finish in the top three at the Canadian Olympic trials, which go June 27-30 in Calgary, to secure her ticket to London.
"I've been due for a real personal best, a real big jump, I felt, and today was the day to do it," said Gleadle.
Vancouver's Krista Woodward placed second with a toss of 53.27 metres. But the result spelled disappointment for Woodward, because she failed to meet the Canadian Olympic Committee's B standard under calm conditions.
To qualify for London, athletes in field events must achieve the B standard twice or the A standard once.
Woodward has achieved the B standard once, but needs another B-level showing, at least 59 metres, to have a chance to go to London. She must get it by June 30.
Tiffany Perkins of Abbotsford, B.C., placed third with a throw of 52.02 metres.
Gleadle had previously achieved the two B marks.
"I feel like I've got a bit of a leg up now," said Gleadle.
The kinesiology student overcame months of hard work, sacrifice and no shortage of pain to set the record. She took a year off from her studies to devote herself fully to training for the Games.
"I ate, I slept, I trained twice a day, I napped," she said. "I ate well. I ate more. I put on 10 pounds. You make (aiming for the Games) your passion, you make it your life, and there are rewards to it."
Gleadle has overcome arm and back injuries the past two seasons that hampered her performances at national championships and a freak leg injury earlier this year while training in Lethbridge. In January, she was standing in the wrong place at the wrong time when a hammer thrower's ball broke off from its chain and hit her in the leg, forcing her to miss a month of action.
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