Gerry Swan has been the dean of track and field in Abbotsford for decades now.
The head coach of the Valley Royals track and field club seen it all, and he’s not prone to issuing empty superlatives.
So when he’s blown away by a performance, like he was last weekend when Vikramjit Gondara shattered the meet record in the under-16 boys hammer throw at the Canadian Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships, you know something truly special has transpired.
Gondara, who is going into Grade 10 at W.J. Mouat Secondary, registered a toss of 59.44 metres, utterly obliterating the previous meet record of 53.94m. That’s exactly 5.5 metres further than the old mark, and Swan termed it “a monster throw.”
“He’s a super athlete,” Swan said of Gondara. “I’d say his potential is unlimited. He’s probably the best young under-20 athlete that the Valley Royals has.”
Gondara, in turn, was blown away when that compliment from Swan was relayed to him.
At the Legion nationals, he in fact broke the record four times, with his best throw coming on his sixth and final attempt.
“I got a good cheer from the crowd (beforehand), which kind of inspired me,” recounted Gondara, who also finished fourth in the discus at 48.84m. “I increased my speed on the throw and tried to keep my balance so I could execute my release, and it turned out to be a really good throw.
“I was expecting to get a record, but what I threw, 59.44, that was a really good surprise to me,” he added, noting that his winning toss was three and a half metres further than his previous personal best. “It feels really good.”
Gondara was hardly the Royals’ only standout at the Legion meet.
Tasha Willing took silver in the U18 girls shot put (13.20m) and added a sixth-place result in the hammer (50.81m).
Michael Lambert, meanwhile, won bronze in the U16 boys high jump, clearing 1.83m.
“I was expecting to medal, looking at the seeding, but I wasn’t sure where I would end up,” said Lambert, who won gold at the BC Athletics championships in Kamloops in July with a personal-best leap of 1.84m. “I’m pretty satisfied. I would have liked to go 1.85 or 1.86, but whatever happens, happens. High jump is that sort of sport.”
Other significant Royals results are as follows:
• Jayden Driver – fifth in U18 boys hammer (48.64m)
• Josh Adhemmar – sixth in U18 boys 300m hurdles (40.84 seconds)
• Spencer Spenst – seventh in U18 boys high jump (1.88m)
• Hannah Konrad – seventh in the U18 girls 800m (2:17.34)
• Tim Bertness – 12th in U18 boys triple jump (12.29m)
• Aidan Bingert – 15th in U18 boys 800m (1:58.89)