Friday, August 6, 2010

More glory awaits P.E.I. sprinter

More glory awaits P.E.I. sprinter

Charles Reid

Diamond League and Commonwealth Games

are up next for Connaughton

The life of a professional sprinter is a gilded one. Just ask Jared Connaughton.

There is glory, such as his gold medal in 200 metres and silver in 100 metres men’s sprint at the recent 2010 Canadian track and field championships in Toronto (he's won the 200-metre national title twice in three years).

And then there’s money. He’s earned cash at meets for running well in the thousands of dollars.

There are not so glorious times, however

“There were some meets where I made $150 bucks,” Connaughton told The Guardian in Charlottetown.

But more glory awaits for the Beijing Olympian, perhaps.

The New Haven native was selected for Canada’s squad at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India in October, where he’s slated to run the 200 metres and the 4x100-metre men’s relay.

He’s on the Island for several days resting and relaxing before his job starts again.

Connaughton joins national 200-metre runner-up Brian Barnett and other members of the Canadian 4x100 metre men’s relay team in Germany for a training camp.

The team will race in an IAAF Diamond League meet in Zurich, Switzerland, on Aug. 19.

Connaughton owns the fastest 200-metre time in Canada this year (20:61) and came near equaling that in Toronto, finishing in 20:66 and beating Barnett (21:02), who won the 200 metres last year, by just over 3/10ths of a second.

And although Connaughton (10:28) came second in the 100-metre final to Sam Effah (10:21), he’s pleased with the medal haul and his performance, which included setting a new event mark in the 200 metres.

Barnett held the old record of 20:71.

“I set the (Varsity) Stadium record in the 200. To come out on top in the 200 was absolutely my objective going in,” said Connaughton. “Obviously, silver isn’t something to be ashamed about. I feel good about this one.”

So far this season, Connaughton, 25, has picked up three wins in 200 metres and pair of wins in 100 metres, three second-place finishes in 200 metres and a third in the 200 — many of those results in a recent swing through Finland, Ireland, Crete and Belgium.

His was one of two podium performances for P.E.I. in Toronto.

Souris triple jumper Kurt McCormack won a silver medal with a jump of 14.72 metres.

Jacob Zorzella of Toronto won the triple jump gold (15.47 metres), his second straight national title, while David St. Bernard of Scarborough, Ont., took bronze (14.71 metres).

In Europe, often autograph seekers and statistics junkies wait outside hotel rooms for their favourite runners.

It’s much different in North America, where most track athletes go unnoticed.


Connaughton to put on clinic

Olympic sprinter Jared Connaughton will be part of a clinic on P.E.I. next week.

He’s the attraction at a speed clinic at the Stratford indoor soccer complex.

The clinic is being hosted by Connaughton and and Spero Mantzavrakos, owner of Next Level Training and a former NHL strength and conditioning coach.

It’s a way, Connaughton said, to teach an athlete how to adapt techniques from one sport to another.

“Sprinters are really aware of movement,” he said. “If you can learn the finer elements of track, you can carry it over into your sport.”

The sessions will be held on Wednesday, Aug.11, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for 10 to 13 years olds, and 7:30 to 9 p.m. for 14 years old and up.

Cost is $40 (tax included).

Contact Mantzavrakos at 316-1888 to register. Space is limited.

Participants will receive a speed program and a dry-fit T-shirt.

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