Valley Royals teammates (from left) Rowan Hamilton

Valley Royals teammates (from left) Rowan Hamilton

Hammer throwers eye gold at national championships

Abbotsford athletes enter this year’s national youth track and field championships ranked as the top two in their division.

Two Abbotsford athletes enter this year’s national youth track and field championships ranked as the top two in their division.

Valley Royals teammates Vikramjit Gondara and Jayden Driver will be heading to the 2015 Legion National Youth Track & Field Championships ranked one and two, respectively, in the Canadian youth hammer throw category.

Both were named to the 2015 BC/Yukon Command Legion Team last week.

Coming from the same city and the same school — W.J. Mouat — and training under the same Royals coach, Harold Willers, there’s a degree of rivalry.

But according to Willers, not so much that there’s any detriment.

“They have both come a long way. Gondara has been throwing with the Royals for about three years … while Driver started late last year,” said Willers, who won’t be joining the boys in St. Therese, Que.

Gondara told The News he feels pretty good, and is excited about the opportunity ahead.

“This is my first time going to Quebec. I’m not really nervous.”

Confidence is easy to come by for the Abbotsford native as he has been accumulating gold medals while tallying record-breaking tosses since entering the track and field scene just a few years ago.

In 2012, he secured three gold medal finishes at the B.C. Junior development championships in the 13-year-old boys division. One was for the hammer throw, which he threw nearly 10 metres further than his second-place counterpart. The other two were in the discus and shot put events.

Gondara then shattered the meet record in the U16 boys hammer throw in the 2014 Canadian Legion Youth Track and Field Championships when he notched a 59.44-metre toss, 5.5 metres farther than the previous record.

He then followed up those feats with two top-place finishes in the hammer throw and discus contests at the 2014 BC Summer Games in Nanaimo.

On Gondara’s heels is teammate Driver, who said there’s definitely a friendly rivalry between them.

“He’s beating me now, but I plan on beating him for Legions.”

Driver said he’s been making personal bests in practice.

“I’ve been training non-stop for two years. I’m feeling pretty confident. I think I’m going to do really well.”

At last year’s B.C. high school track and field championships, Driver picked up gold in the hammer and discus events, and managed bronze in the shot put.

The Mouat student said he recognizes Gondara is likely to be his toughest competition, but can’t wait to trade throws with his Valley teammate.

Also competing out of the Royals camp is Chilliwack’s Rowan Hamilton. He enters as the No. 1-ranked hammer throw for the midget division.

The national youth championships run Aug. 7 to 9.

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