Montreal set to host track & field meet with a twist
From February 20-22 in Montreal, Athletics Canada will play host to the 2015 Canadian Indoor Open Championship.
Although the competition is intended primarily for youth and junior level athletes, the event will also help many Olympians prepare for an busy upcoming track and field season featuring the Pan American Games in Toronto and the World Championships in Beijing. The weekend also has a celebrity twist that will include a top winter Olympian.
For preparation, many Athletics Canada stars are in Montreal, including Alex Genest, who will be competing in the men’s 1500m event on Saturday; middle-distance runner Melissa Bishop is in the women’s 800m race; decathlete Damian Warner will compete in the long jump; and Jessica Zelinka will be in the women’s shot-put event.
The men’s 600m race will be a major draw for fans at the Claude Robillard Sports Complex, which could be the setting for a world indoor record.
Fans in attendance will be able to see athletes such as Dominican Lugelin Santos, 400m silver medallist at London 2012, and British Olympian David “Dai” Green, 2011 World Champion in the 400m hurdles, rise to the challenge in this three-lap race. Quebecker Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, Torontonian Philip Osei, American Mark Wieczorek, Columbian Rafith Rodriguez and Jamaican Errol Nolan will also be competing. There may be some elbowing, as the seven runners don’t have their own designated lanes.
The event will begin with a bang on Friday at the Bruny Surin Celebrity Speed Challenge, to raise funds for the sprinter’s foundation, which aims to motivate kids and young students to embrace healthy lifestyles. “As a retired athlete, one of my goals is to get youth off the couch and into playing sports,” Surin said on the event’s official site. The list of participants includes Olympic Winter Games champion, Alex Bilodeau.
Here is the list of celebrities who will be racing in the 60m Speed Challenge.
Bruny Surin – Olympic gold medallist (a recent injury may rule him out)
Lucian Bute – former light heavyweight world champion
Jessica Zelinka – two-time Olympian
Firas Zahabi – head trainer at TriStar Gym
Étienne Boulay – three-time Grey Cup champion
Georges Laraque – former NHL player
Alex Bilodeau – two-time Olympic gold medallist
Jeremy Filosa – media personality with 98.5 FM Montréal
Patrick Côté – feature fighter at the next UFC 186 event
Feature photo via Athletics Canada