Athletics Canada launches 10-meet National Track and Field Tour for 2022 outdoor season

·2 min read
Canadian steeplechase racer Regan Yee relied on local meets and those featured in Athletics Canada's Tokyo Qualifier Series to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard last summer. She and others will have a chance to do the same this year ahead of the world championships competing on the National Track and Field Tour. (Submitted by Athletics Canada/File - image credit)
Canadian steeplechase racer Regan Yee relied on local meets and those featured in Athletics Canada's Tokyo Qualifier Series to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard last summer. She and others will have a chance to do the same this year ahead of the world championships competing on the National Track and Field Tour. (Submitted by Athletics Canada/File - image credit)

Regan Yee felt love and support from Canada's race directors in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The steeplechase racer recalled how they worked with athletes to plan for strong performances by scheduling races later in the day when temperatures cooled.

"The difference between staying in Canada and going to the U.S. was that the races here were focused on the success of Canadians," the 26-year-old from South Hazelton, B.C., said in a statement released by Athletics Canada.

"There's a whole other level of support when I compete in Canada and it really makes a difference."

Yee relied on local meets and those featured in AC's Tokyo Qualifier Series to achieve the Olympic qualifying standard, doing so on the final day of qualifying in Montreal. This year, she and other Canadians can better prepare themselves for the world championships in July as a participant on the National Track and Field Tour, announced Monday.

A series of 10 high-performance meets, with a total prize purse of $400,000, is scheduled to begin May 14 and run until the July 15-24 worlds in Portland, Ore.

Meaningful competition opportunities

The tour was made possible by funding Athletics Canada received when it joined the World Athletics Continental Tour's silver, bronze and challenger series recently.

The purpose of the Tour is to provide meaningful competition opportunities for athletes at home, assist them in earning valuable world ranking points and help develop the talent pool for future national team representation, according to Chris Winter, director of domestic programs and Safe Sport with Athletics Canada.

As travel restrictions linger during the COVID-19 pandemic, Yee views the opportunity of competing in silver and bronze-labelled races on home soil as a huge advantage.

"Being able to stay in the country takes away a lot of the stress of travelling, and generally the more relaxed I am, the better I perform," she said. "Having Canada be included in the Continental Tour means that my races would also be worth more in the ranking system which could be extremely important for future team qualifications."

Nigel Hole, race director of the annual Harry Jerome Track Classic in B.C., believes having the event as part of the tour schedule should enhance the calibre of competition.

He noted last year's competition suffered from a lack of international and even interprovincial competition, but Harry Jerome organizers were rewarded with some of the best athletic performances the event has seen in its long history, including steeplechaser Alysha Butterworth, race walker Evan Dunfee and 5,000-metre specialist Luc Bruchet meeting the Olympic standard.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting