Athletics Canada unveiled today its 2014 annual award winners with high jumper Derek Drouin of Corunna, Ont., leading the way with wins in three categories for the second year in a row. Athletics Canada’s Awards Committee selects winners from the nominee pool put forward by the athletics community. 2014 Athletics Canada annual award recipients will be honoured at a special Pan American Games themed alumni reception July 24 in Toronto, Ont.
2014 was an excellent year in Canadian athletics, which resulted in a tie for the Jack Davies Trophy for outstanding athlete of the year. Derek Drouin and Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Humboldt, Sask., will share the award. Both had outstanding seasons culminating in gold medals in their respective events at the Commonwealth Games.
Derek Drouin wins three awards including the Jack W. Davies Trophy as outstanding athlete of the year, the Cal. D Bricker Memorial Trophy for the single outstanding performance of the year and the F.N.A. Rowell Trophy for the outstanding field athlete of the year. Drouin reached new heights in 2014, breaking his own national record with a 2.40-metres clearance at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. He is now one of only ten men to ever clear 2.40-metres. Along with establishing a new Canadian record, Drouin won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.
Along with sharing the Jack W. Davies Trophy, Brianne Theisen-Eaton is the winner of the Lyle Sanderson Award as the combined events athlete of the year. Brianne claimed silver medal in the pentathlon at the IAAF Indoor World Championships and won gold in the heptathlon at the Commonwealth Games.
Also collecting two awards, Evan Dunfee of Richmond, B.C., is the recipient of the Fred Begley Award as the Off Track Athlete of the Year & the Fred Tees Award recognizing the top Canadian athlete enrolled in a Canadian university. The 24 year-old race walker set a new Canadian 20-kilometres record of 1:20:13 on his way to an 11th place finish at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup. He along with his teammates finished fourth, a mere point away from the podium.
2014 got off to a fast start for Cameron Levins of Black Creek, B.C. On January 16, Cam broke Jason Bunston’s 17 year-old Canadian indoor 5000-metres record running a time of 13:19.16. This performance along with his courageous bronze medal finish at the Commonwealth Games in the 10000-metres earned him the 2014 Phil A. Edwards Track Athlete of the Year award.
After earning bronze at the Commonwealth Games in the T54 classification wheelchair1500-metres, Alexandre Dupont of Bradwell, Sask., is the 2014 Wheelchair Athlete of the Year. Along with a Commonwealth podium finish, Dupont claimed two T54 classification titles (800-metres, 1500-metres) and a runner-up finish (400-metres) at the 2014 Canadian Track & Field Championships.
Justyn Knight was a force to be reckoned with all season on the track and on the cross country course. The Vaughn, Ont., native represented Canada at the NACAC Cross Country Championships placing fifth and ran a gutsy race to finish eight in the 5000-metres at the World Junior Championships in Eugene, Oregon. In the fall of 2014, Knight claimed his second-consecutive junior boys Canadian Cross Country title and as such is the recipient of the Eric E. Coy Junior Athlete of the Year.
It was a record-breaking year for Mariam Abdul-Rashid of Oshawa, Ont. Mariam set Canadian youth records in both the 300-metre & 400-metre hurdles. With these accomplishments and a fifth place at the IAAF World Junior Championships, Mariam is the 2014 Myrtle Cook Youth Athlete of the Year winner.
Gerry Dragomir coaches a very talented and successful group of race walkers in British Columbia. The group that includes Evan Dunfee, Inaki Gomez and Ben Thorne placed fourth at the 2014 IAAF World Race Walking Cup. Led by Evan’s 11th place finish the group was a single point away from the podium and recorded Canada’s best ever placing at the event. Gerry also received the Coaching Association of Canada’s (CAC) prestigious Jack Donohue “Coach of the Year” Award and is Athletics Canada’s inaugural winner of the the Doug Clement Coach of the Year.
Tony Sharpe is the first ever recipient of the Jane and Gerry Swan Development Coach of the Year. Tony is lead coach at The Speed Academy, one of Canada’s leading youth clubs. The Speed Academy, under Tony’s leadership, aims to introduce youth to the sport of track and field and since their inception in 2006 have produced several provincial and national champions. The 2014 IAAF World Junior Championships team counted four athletes from the Speed Academy: Taylor Sharpe, Mariam Abdul-Rashid, Josh Cunningham and Leya Buchanan.