Kamloops contingent at Olympic qualifier

Eleven Kamloops-based athletes are in Calgary this week for the Canadian track and field championships and Olympic qualifier trials.

The championships opened Wednesday, but only two Kamloops athletes competed on Day 1.

Spencer Allen, a 1993-born member of the Kamloops Track and Field Club, qualified for the final in the men's pole vault. Allen, the youngest of the nine competitors Wednesday, hit 4.40 metres to finish among the top five and qualify for Friday's final.

Zachary Russell-Ford, who trains in Kamloops at the National Throws Centre, missed out on the men's discus final.

Russell-Ford finished fourth among five athletes with a heave of 43.15m. Only the top three athletes qualified for Friday's final.

The rest of the Kamloops athletes are throwers.

The men's hammer throw qualifying is scheduled for this afternoon, and three NTC athletes will be looking to make Saturday's final. Adam Keenan, Ryan Jensen and Spencer Prince are among the 17 men whose qualifying starts at 12:45 p.m., Mountain Time.

Keenan, it should be noted, was named Wednesday to Canada's team for the IAAF World Junior Championships, which run July 10-15 in Barcelona, Spain. Keenan moved to Kamloops last year from Victoria to train under NTC head coach Anatoly Bondarchuk.

Later today, the women's hammer throw qualifying will open, and there are three Kamloops women competing - Sultana Frizell and Megann Rodhe of the NTC, and Kamloops-based thrower Jennifer Joyce. The women's hammer final also is scheduled for Saturday.

Three Kamloops shot-putters will be going straight to their finals Saturday. Taryn Suttie will be competing in the women's final, while Dylan Armstrong and Justin Rodhe are the favourites in the the men's shot put.

The Canadian team for the London Olympics, which begin July 27, will be selected based partially on the weekend's results. Athletes have to hit qualifying standards while finishing in the top-three this weekend to make London.

Armstrong and Justin Rodhe have made the men's shot put A standard, while Frizell has made the women's hammer B standard more than twice.

Armstrong and Frizell competed in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

The Olympic team will officially be named following the championships.

CBC-TV will have live coverage of the championships on Friday and Saturday. Friday's coverage runs from 2:30-4:30 p.m. (Pacific Time), while Saturday's will run 1-3 p.m. Saturday's coverage also will be streamed live online at cbcsports.ca.

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