Road To The Olympic Games

Pole vaulter Alysha Newman remains positive despite season-ending knee injury

Canadian pole vaulter Alysha Newman is looking ahead to 2019 after shutting down for the season due to injury. The London, Ont., native told CBC Sports on Tuesday that she would be shifting her focus from competition to a continued effort to recover from a partially torn patellar tendon in her left knee.

Canadian-record holder continues to recover from partially torn patellar tendon

Canada's Alysha Newman celebrates winning gold in the women's pole vault at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Newman will be ending her season early due to a knee injury. (Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Canadian pole vaulter Alysha Newman is looking ahead to 2019 after shutting down for the season due to injury. 

The London, Ont., native told CBC Sports on Tuesday that she would be shifting her focus from competition to a continued effort to recover from a partially torn patellar tendon in her left knee.

Newman had hoped to compete at this weekend's North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) track and field championships in Toronto, but was not cleared by her doctor. 

"I feel like this whole thing has happened for a reason, so I've been very positive. We did what we needed to do this year. I brought home a Commonwealth gold and that was our No. 1 goal," Newman said in a phone interview.

Walking away on a high note

"Our goal was to get better and I got way better this year in competition. I think I'm not as upset because I'm walking away from this season with a really high note. I'm ending on a lower note, but at least I have something to take away with me for 2018. It gives me a lot more motivation than ever to really get back for 2019."

The 24-year-old, who hasn't competed since the injury forced her out of a Diamond League event in May, has been rehabilitating her knee with physiotherapy for the past five weeks.

Despite not being cleared for competition, Newman says she has made a lot of progress. Her doctor told her she was recovering quickly, as the initial six-millimetre tear in her middle tendon has been reduced to just over one millimetre. 

"We're going to make sure that I'm healthy and that I can go into Oct. 1 — when my base training starts — with no pain with anything. That's a really big goal for us next year because I've had pain in my knee for about a year and a half now, so it'll be really interesting to see what I can do when I'm 100 per cent."

Focusing on health

Newman ended last season by matching her 4.75-metre Canadian outdoor record at the Diamond League final in Brussels, which set her up for a strong start to 2018. She went on to claim gold at the Commonwealth Games in April, jumping 4.75 metres again to break the Games' record. 

With her competitive season over, Newman will be taking time to set herself up for a successful, injury-free run next year. 

"The main point is to just be healthy. I'm still training until about Labour Day just to stay in shape and finish rehab. After Labour Day, I'm going to take a good six to eight weeks off completely from any athletics and just do my hobbies that I love to do off the track."

With files from Doug Harrison

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