Johnny Loaring Classic meet continues to grow in stature for Athletics Canada


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The Johnny Loaring Classic track and field meet continues to grow in stature.

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The meet, which is set for Saturday at University of Windsor Stadium, is part of Athletics Canada’s National Track and Field Tour.

“I believe it’s because of the quality of the meet, the results attained here and the official and volunteers we have in the community,” meet director and organizing committee chair Brett Lumley said of the meet’s growing prominence.

Last year’s event was part of the Tokyo Qualifying Series leading up to the Olympic Games, but this year’s event has moved up to a D-level rating and is part of the World Athletics Continental Tour – Challenger Series.

“This year, it’s the next level up,” Lumley said. “There are not only performance points, but placing points and it goes eight (finishers) deep for (helping to) get named to World Championships or Commonwealth Games, but it depends on how you’re ranked in the world rankings and there are bonuses points.”

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Spectators were not allowed at last year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year’s event will welcome the return of fans. However, tickets are only available online as the meet goes cashless as part of safety protocols around COVID-19.

“It will be nice to see fans back,” Lumley said.

The event is expected to attract up to 250 elite athletes and more than 100 in the national section as Athletics Canada looks to provide meaningful competition for athletes in Canada in hopes of developing future national team members.

“Because we host early in the season, this is essentially the first event on the tour, I think the D level is good,” Lumley said.

Prize money has also grown with more than $20,000 up for grabs for athletes, which is up from $10,000 a year ago.

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Locally, former Canadian Olympian and University of Windsor Lancer product Noelle Montcalm is set to compete in the women’s 400-meter hurdles along with former Lancer Kelsey Balkwill.

Former Olympian and Canadian record holder Brittany Crew will compete in women’s shot put while former Olympian Gavin Smellie will compete in the men’s 100 meters where he is the event record holder.

Also set to compete is Zach Gingras, who is a Paralympic bronze medalist in the men’s T38 400 meters.

Tickets for the meet are $10 and available for purchase online at johnnyloaringclassic.ca

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