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Athletics Canada announces 2015 annual Award Winners

Barber, Bishop, Lakatos, Thorne, Warner headline Athletics Canada annual Awards

Jack W. Davies Award – Athlete of the Year – Shawn Barber
Cal D. Bricker Memorial Trophy – Performance of the Year – Shawn Barber
Phil A. Edwards Memorial Trophy – Track Athlete of the Year – Melissa Bishop
F.N.A. Rowell Trophy – Athlete of the Year in Field Events – Shawn Barber
Dr. Fred Tees Memorial Trophy – Canadian University Athlete of the Year – Ben Thorne
Fred Begley Memorial Trophy – Off-track Athlete of the Year – Ben Thorne
Lyle Sanderson Award – Combined Events Athlete of the Year – Damian Warner
Eric E. Coy Memorial Trophy – Junior Athlete of the Year – Justyn Knight
Myrtle Cook Memorial Trophy – Youth Athlete of the Year – Joseph Daniels
Para-athlete of the Year in Wheelchair Events – Brent Lakatos
Para-athlete of the Year in Ambulatory Events – Guillaume Ouellet
Dr. Doug Clement Award – Coach of the Year –Gerry Dragomir and Dennis Fairall
Jane and Gerry Swan Award – Development Coach of the Year – Mark Bomba 

Athletics Canada unveiled today its 2015 annual award winners with World Champion pole vaulter Shawn Barber of Toronto, Ont., leading the way with wins in three categories. Athletics Canada’s Awards Committee selects winners from the nominee pool put forward by the athletics community. 2015 Athletics Canada annual award recipients will be honoured July 6 in Edmonton during the Canadian Track and Field Championships and Selection Trials for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Details on the event will be released in the coming weeks.

2015 was a tremendous year for Canadian athletics making the committee’s decisions very difficult. With multiple indoor / outdoor Canadian records and a victory at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships, Shawn Barber won the Jack W. Davies Trophy for outstanding athlete of the year. 

Barber also wins 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. Barber kept raising the bar in 2015 with record clearances of 5.92-metres indoors and 5.93-metres outdoors. Along with establishing Canadian records both indoors and outdoors, Barber won the indoor and outdoor NCAA titles and gold at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.

Bolstered by her 800-metres silver medal at the World Championships, Melissa Bishop of Eganville, Ont., is the recipient of the Phil A. Edwards Memorial Trophy for Track Athlete of the Year. Along with silver in Beijing, Melissa established a new Canadian women’s 800-metres record of 1:57.52. 

After earning a trio of gold medals at both the 2015 Pan Am Games and IPC Athletics World Championships, Brent Lakatos of Dorval, Que., is the 2015 Wheelchair Athlete of the Year. In Toronto, Lakatos earned Parapan Am gold in the T53 category at 100, 400, and 800-metres. He continued his dominance in Doha at the IPC Worlds earning gold at 100, 200 and 800-metres. 

Moving up a spot on the podium from a bronze medal finish in 2013, Damian Warner of London, Ont., is the winner of the Lyle Sanderson Award as the Combined Events athlete of the year. Damian claimed silver in the decathlon at the IAAF Outdoor World Championships and won gold in front of Canadian crowd at Toronto’s 2015 Pan Am Games. Damian’s total of 8659 points in Toronto, and 8695 points in Beijing both established new Canadian records in the event. 

Also collecting two awards, Ben Thorne of Kitimat, B.C., is the recipient of the Fred Begley Award as the Off Track Athlete of the Year and he is the winner of the Fred Tees Award recognizing the top Canadian athlete enrolled in a Canadian university. The 22-year-old race walker set a new Canadian 20-kilometres record of 1:19:57 on his way to a bronze medal finish at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships. Thorne became the first Canadian to go under the 80-minute barrier. 

With a pair of international titles, Guillaume Ouellet of Victoriaville, Que., is the 2015 recipient of the Para-athlete of the Year in Ambulatory Events. Ouellet won the T13 1500-metres at the 2015 Parapan Am Games. Ouellet stepped up in distance on a warm evening in Doha, Qatar to win IPC Athletics World Championships gold in the 5000-metres. 

The 2014 recipient of this award just keeps getting better. Justyn Knight of Vaughan, Ont., placed fourth last fall at the NCAA Cross Country Championships and sixth in the 5000-metres at the outdoor NCAA Track & Field Championships. Thanks in part to these accomplishments, Knight repeats as recipient of the Eric E. Coy Junior Athlete of the Year.

Joseph Daniels of Kitchener, Ont., took part in one of the closest races of the year. The IAAF World Youth Championships final of the 110-metre hurdles saw only .04 separate gold medal from sixth place. Joseph had a great race and leaned to win silver in Cali, Colombia. Joseph is the 2015 Myrtle Cook Youth Athlete of the Year winner. 

The Dr. Doug Clement Award - Coach of the Year resulted in a tie between Gerry Dragomir and Dennis Fairall. Moving towards his training group’s goal of ‘world domination’, Gerry Dragomir coached Ben Thorne to a bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships. Athletes led by Dennis Fairall finished in three of the six podium spots in the 800-metres at the 2015 Canadian Track & Field Championships. Under his guidance, Melissa Bishop had a breakthrough season culminating with a silver at the IAAF World Championships and establishing a new Canadian 800-metres record. 

Mark Bomba is the recipient of the Jane and Gerry Swan Development Coach of the Year. Mark is the distance coach at Langley Mustangs/Trinity Western University. During Bomba’s tenure, Trinity Western has established a strong cross country and distance running pedigree. While being coached by Bomba, Fiona Benson won the 800-metres at the Canadian Track and Field Championships and achieved both the 800-metre and 1500-metres Olympic standards. Last fall, the Trinity Western women raced to a runner-up finish at the CIS Cross Country Championships.

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