Canadian throwers smash records in Delhi
Kyle Pettey strikes gold in Paralympic shot put
Last Updated: Thursday, October 7, 2010 | 10:14 AM ET
The Associated Press
Dylan Armstrong stood atop the podium in a near-empty stadium, then gathered his gold medal, grabbed his bags and rushed to his next challenge.
On his road to the 2012 London Olympics, Armstrong's trip to India will amount to a blur, a whirlwind trip that saw him capture a shot put gold medal, a Commonwealth Games record and then make a quick exit.
The extent of Armstrong's sightseeing in New Delhi would have to be limited to the view from the top of the podium.
"I think it was about 45 hours here, that's enough," Armstrong said with a laugh. "I've got to get back and get out of the heat and start training again."
Armstrong's performance highlighted a record golden day in field events for Canada. Armstrong's training partner Sultana Frizell won the women's hammer with a Commonwealth Games record and Kyle Pettey of Brampton, Ont., also won gold, erasing his own world record in the Paralympic shot put.
Canada's success continued Friday. Diane Roy of Notre-Dame-du-Lac, Que., won the parasport 1,500-metre wheelchair race in three minutes 53.95 seconds.
Meanwhile, Jamie Adjetey-Nelson of Windsor, Ont., continued to lead the decathlon after six events.
Just two days after he arrived in New Delhi -- part of his plan for a short-but-sweet visit — Armstrong claimed the Games record on his last step up to the circle, launching his throw 21.02 metres. Jamaica's Dorian Scott won silver with 20.19, while Australia's Dale Stevenson took bronze with 19.99.
He was hustled off to a medal ceremony that had originally been scheduled for Friday but was bumped up to the end of Thursday's events so the globetrotting Armstrong could make his red-eye flight home. The Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium had almost emptied when "O Canada" played.
"It was my plan originally, and I've done this all year, this is my 17th time [travelling overseas] this year, so it's been a lot," Armstrong said. "I'm getting used to it, I'm figuring out all the time zones, what works. I'm not jet-lagged, I feel great."
Not surprisingly, the six-foot-four, 309-pound thrower flies first class.
"It's the only way to go, for me anyway," said Armstrong, who estimates he's competed in 32 meets over the past 13 months. "I can't afford to be limping off the plane."
Prize money from Grand Prix circuit events and meet appearance fees give Armstrong some financial flexibility with his travel arrangements.
The 29-year-old thrower from Kamloops, B.C., finished fourth at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, missing the bronze by just a centimetre. But dwelling on disappointment is like touching his tongue to a sore tooth, so he has set his sights firmly set on London, where Armstrong will be one of Canada's top medal hopes in track and field.
"It's my rocket fuel going into London," he said.
Frizell, a 25-year-old from Perth, Ont., threw 68.57 metres to win the hammer, easily beating Carys Parry of Wales who threw 64.93. Zoe Derham of England was third with 64.04.
Frizell and Armstrong are part of a powerhouse Canadian throws program in Kamloops under coach Anatoliy Bondarchuk. The renowned Ukrainian the throwers call "Dr. B" was responsible for turning Armstrong into a shot putter after years of throwing the hammer.
"We've just been excelling with him right from the start, as soon as I moved out there, I improved my personal distance by two and a half metres, it's been going further and further each year," Frizell said. "It's just the volume of throws has increased substantially, we train five days a week and we have two two-a-days."
Armstrong and Frizell were the class of the fields in events not strong in the Commonwealth — the United States utterly dominates men's shot put, boasting four of the top five throwers in the world and nine of the best 17. Armstrong's Canadian record of 21.58 he threw earlier this season ranks him seventh in the world.
Europeans rule women's hammer, with Frizell sitting 11th in the world this season.
Armstrong's Games record topped the mark of 20.91 Justin Anlezark of Australia threw eight years ago in Manchester, while Frizell broke Australian Brooke Krueger's record of 67.90 set in Melbourne in 2006.
Pettey, bronze medallist at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, threw 11.44 metres to better his previous record of 11.24. Daniel West of England won silver, while Australia's Hamish Macdonald won the bronze.
"I feel awesome," Pettey said. "My first three throws were not what I would have hoped for but I reloaded and (coach) Dave Greig pushed me really hard. It's my first major win. I have come second and third at other events and now it's all come together in a major Games."
Adjetey-Nelson ran the second-fastest time in 110-metre hurdles Friday to stay in the lead of the decathlon after six events.
He finished in 14.76 seconds to increase his total to 5,117 points.
Brent Newdick of New Zealand, who ran 14.79 in the first of the final five events at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, was second with 4,950 points and Martin Brockman of England was third with 4,916.
The remaining four events are the discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500.
On Thursday, Adjetey-Nelson won the second of two 100-metre heats in 10.87 seconds, he leapt 7.37 metres to finish second in long jump and then won the shot put with a throw of 15 metres.
The 24-year-old spent the long day swatting away small moths that filled the air at the stadium and covered every surface like fallen leaves.
"I was just happy I didn't get any in my mouth in that 400 [the day's final event of the decathlon] because I was breathing heavy," Adjetey-Nelson said.
Most of the biggest names in track and field aren't competing in New Delhi for various reasons, including Usain Bolt, Caster Semenya and Canadian hurdlers Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and Perdita Felicien. There were concerns the event would have to be postponed a day when workers were still putting the finishing touches to the track and infield hours before the first event started Wednesday.
Jamaica didn't even need Bolt in the men's 100 metres, with Lerone Clarke winning the marquee race in 10.12 seconds.
"We're going to do whatever it takes to win. I know I am fast, even if Usain Bolt is not here," said Clarke said, the only man in the final to have run under 10 seconds in the past two years. "I am still here and I am part of the Jamaican team."
Mark Lewis-Francis of England was second in 10.20 while Aaron Armstrong of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 10.24.
Calgary's Sam Effah, who ran 10.06 earlier this year, a time that only four Canadians in history have topped, was seventh in 10.37.
In a controversial women's 100 final, Sally Pearson of Australia crossed first in 11.28 seconds, but was later disqualified on appeal from the England team for a false start.
Australia appealed the decision but failed, meaning Osayemi Oludamola of Nigeria, originally second in 11.32, was given the gold medal.
Natasha Mayers of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, who originally crossed third in 11.37, moved up to silver, and England's Katherine Endacott got the bronze medal.
"The most disappointing part is that I was told I was clear. I did my victory lap with the flag," a distraught Pearson said. "I was walking out to the medal ceremony and then I was called back. That's not right."
Pearson and Laura Turner both appeared to false start. Turner was given a red card, but the Englishwoman successfully argued her case and stayed in the race, competing under protest. She finished eighth in 11.57, but the official results listed her as disqualified.