September 27, 2020

Armstrong strong arms competition: Kamloops shot putter overcomes injury to win big in Cayman Invitational


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Our Canadian readers will like this article that appeared in the Vancouver Sun

Canadian shot putter Dylan Armstrong

From frustrating to foul, Canadian shot putter Dylan Armstrong’s 2012 season was creating more of a thud than the sound the 16-pound steel sphere makes when tossed by one of track and field’s spinning behemoths.

But down in the western Caribbean this week, far from the London-prep spotlight, the Kamloops native showed you can find a return on investment in the Cayman Islands that has nothing at all to do with money.

The hard-training, 300-lb. Armstrong, who had slipped to the No. 12 world ranking after being No. 1 through 2011, threw 21.15 metres on Wednesday night to win the inaugural Cayman Invitational.

At the world indoor championships in Istanbul in early March, he was bothered by a sore throwing arm, failing to make the final when his best throw went just 19.84 metres. He said then that the injury wasn’t a “long-term concern,” but in his first meet of the out-door season, April 18, in Lawrence, Kansas, he fouled on all six of his throws.

“I took about 20 days off back in March [after world indoors], so I’ve been playing catch-up,” Armstrong, 31, said by email on Thursday. “My arm is feeling 100 per cent as I continue to move forward.

“I owe a big thanks to my medical team for getting me back on track so quickly.”

Armstrong’s 21.15 was the seventh-best throw in the world this year, although it is well back of the 21.73 that American Reese Hoffa threw at Lawrence.

“The meet last night was a good start to my season. I’m pretty pleased. The 21-m throw felt extremely easy,” said Arm-strong on Thursday, who threw a personal best 22.21 last July at the Canadian championships and then won the silver medal at the outdoor world championships in Daegu, South Korea, with a throw of 21.64.

Armstrong has a typically busy spring schedule. He’s in Daegu next Wednesday, Shanghai May 19, Ostrava, Czech Republic, on May 25 and Hengelo, Netherlands, a day later.

He returns to North America for the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., June 2, then flies to Oslo for a meet June 6 before returning home for the Harry Jerome Track Classic at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby on June 10.

“I like to get a series of meets in to fine tune and work on technique,” said Armstrong, who is one of Athletics Canada’s big hopes for a medal at the London Olympics.

At the Cayman Invitational, Armstrong beat out Justin Rodhe, a training partner at the National Throws Centre in Kamloops. The American-born Rodhe, who earlier this month won an appeal to the International Association of Athletics Federations and will compete for Canada at London, threw 20.36 metres.

A month earlier at Lawrence, Rodhe threw a personal best 21.11 metres.

“I just tried to focus on training and preparation,” said Rodhe after the IAAF ruled him eligible to compete for Canada. “You can’t allow yourself to worry, and you just have to throw your fate to the wolves sometimes.”

Meantime, Nanoose Bay product Mike Mason, who now lives and trains in Abbotsford, has all but punched his ticket to London with some strong early-season efforts.

After clearing the Olympic B standard by jumping 2.28 metres in each of his first two meets this season, the Nanoose Bay native exceeded the Olympic A standard by jumping a personal best of 2.31 metres in winning an event in Guadeloupe on May 1.

That jump is tied for the second-best in the world this sea-son, behind only the 2.32 of American Ricky Robertson.

Mason, who will be at the Harry Jerome Classic, now only needs to finish top three at the Canadian championships in late June to secure his Olympic berth.

OLYMPIC SPOTS ON LINE: Mountain bikers Geoff Kabush and Max Plaxton, both of Victoria, will be looking for good finishes at a World Cup in Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Republic, this week-end to ensure Canada gets two spots in the men’s race in London.

Canada sits 13th in the UCI Olympic Nations Rankings with two qualifying races remaining. Countries ranked six through 13 get two berths at the Olympic start line for the men’s race. Canada has 1,633 points, 231 ahead of 14th place Australia. Japan is 15th with 1,303.

Kabush was 37th and 11th in the first two World Cups; Plax-ton 43rd and 59th and Derek Zandstra of Trenton, Ont., 29th and 40th.

Canada, ranked comfortably in first on the women’s side, has already secured the maxi-mum two spots for the women’s Olympic race. Catharine Pendrel of Kamloops, the reigning world champion, holds the World Cup leader’s jersey.
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