Roth captures gold and silver

 Roth keeps sparkling on the track


   Sprinter wins the 200 metres and PBs in the 400 metres at AO's Open meet

   while Knelsen finally breaks 2:08 in the women's 800 metres

 Tuesday, August 3, 2021




Michael Roth, during the men's 400-metre run at Athletics Ontario U20 meet in July. (photo / Rob J. Ross)



By Rob J. Ross 

ST. THOMAS - Michael Roth keeps on getting faster.

The 19-year old from St. Thomas won the the men's 200-metre dash and finished second in the 400-metre run, at Athletics Ontario Open championships at the Toronto track and field centre, July 31-August 1.

Roth edged Eliezer Adjibi by a thousandth of a second for the gold medal in the 200 metres, winning in 21.359 seconds.

"The prelim I took it easy and still did better than my first two times of the year, so that was a big sign that I improved a lot since the beginning of the year," said Roth, who had the sixth fastest qualifying time from the heats at 21.51 seconds.

His winning time was just off his PB time of 21.18 seconds, set a week earlier, at the AO U20 meet.

In the 400 metres, Roth lowered his best time to 46.70 seconds, finishing the race on the heels of winner 31-year old Philip Osei, who crossed the line in 46.39 seconds.

"I haven't regressed or plateaued at all so I think that's a sign of things to come at least," said Roth, who is heading to the 2021 World Athletics U20 championships, August 17-22, in Nairobi, Kenya.

"It's going to be fun," said Roth. "I'm not nervous. I'm just excited to go."

Roth will be part of team Canada practices during the week of August 8th, before flying to Kenya on August 12th.

The 2020 graduate of Parkside Collegiate is excited to represent Canada, but doesn't have any expectations for the track

"I can't set any goals for there. I'll just enjoy the experience and see what comes of it," Roth said.

When Roth returns to Canada, he'll be heading to Windsor University.

Roth was one of three athletes representing St. Thomas Legion Club, along with Hallee Knelsen and Tayah DeSousa.

Knelsen won a bronze medal in the women's 1500-metre run, finishing in 4:30.81 and finished fifth in the women's 800-metre run, but in a personal best time of 2:07.44.

Hallee Knelsen

The 18-year old was just off her personal best time of 4:28.8, in the 1500, behind winner Ashley Taylor (4:29.54) and silver medalist Kate Current (4:30.61).

"I was really happy with the 1500," Knelsen said. "I thought it would be a good chance to PB because I assumed the race would go out fast, but it was actually very tactical and pretty slow until the last lap. A pack of four of us broke away. I think I was sitting seventh going into that lap. I moved into third on the home stretch. I finished only two seconds off my PB despite the slow first half, but it was very cool medaling at Open AOs."

After four attempts at meets over the past two months, attempting to qualify for the World Athletics U20 championships, Knelsen finally broke through with a time under 2:08.

"I know there's still more there yet, but I'm super happy to finally break 2:08," said Knelsen. "I know I'm in shape for faster than 2:08 and I didn't want my season to end without hitting a faster mark than that. I was more patient today. I ran a 63 first lap so to improve on what I ran today I need to get that lap down again, but today I closed hard in the last 200 instead of dying and passed three girls in about the last 150 metres."

Knelsen, who graduated from East Elgin Secondary school in June, will be running for the Western Mustangs come September.

DeSousa, 18, won a bronze medal, in women's long jump (5.50 metres), finished sixth in the 100-metre hurdles and ninth in high jump (1.55 metres).

The graduate of Central Elgin Collegiate heads to California State University Long Beach, later this month.


Silver for heptathlete Luna

Jadyn Luna, of Thorndale, took the silver medal, in the U18 women's heptathlon, with 3657 pts.

Luna, who trains with London-Western Club, won shot put and the 800-metre run, placed second in javelin, high jump and the 200-metre dash and was third in long jump.

Para athlete Madison Wilson-Walker, also with London-Western, placed ninth in open women's long jump, with a best effort of 4.08 metres.