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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Four local athletes, one coach have their sights set on the finish line 10,000 kilometres away

- Canadian Olympic Track team recently

announced its athletic roster for Tokyo -

by Garrett Fodor 

With the Olympics kicking off on July 23, Athletics Canada announced the names of the 57 athletes who will represent Canada in their respective sports. In track and field, four athletes and one coach from the Windsor-Essex County region will wear the maple leaf later this month. Athletes Melissa Bishop Nriagu, Noelle Montcalm, Brandon McBride, and Dayna Pidhoresky, in addition to Coach Kurt Downes, will travel to Tokyo.

  800-metre runner, Bishop Nriagu, secured her spot in June, surpassing Athletics Canada’s standard in the event. For Bishop-Nriagu, Tokyo 2020 marks the third time she will represent Canada, after previously running in London during the 2012 games and Rio during 2016, where she placed 4th. She noted this year’s edition is different and a new experience, now being a mother and her loved ones having to stay home.

  “I left home with sad and excited tears,” Bishop-Nriagu wrote on social media. “I’m torn between the excitement of achieving goals and the heartbreak of being away from my family. I’m beyond grateful that I have a support that allows me to do this.”

  While her former University of Windsor teammate Noelle Montcalm will join Bishop-Nriagu for her second Olympics, Montcalm will run the 400-metre hurdles and the 4x400 metre race. Both were members of the 2016 team that placed fourth. While Montcalm did not hit the Athletics Canada standard time, she qualified after posting one of the top 40 times this year. 

  Windsor native and current 800-metre record-holder, Brandon McBride, is representing Canada for the second-time. McBride is returning to the track after more than a year away, while he recovered from injuries. Unlike Montcalm, McBride qualified after previously hitting his standard. He opted not to run in the Olympic Trials held at the end of June, instead traveling to Budapest, Hungary, for the Gyulai István Memorial Track and Field meet on July 6, 2021. There, McBride posted a time of 1:45:51, placing fourth. 

  For Pidhoresky, a marathoner, her spot was secured in October of 2019. For the 34-year-old Windsor native, the Tokyo games will mark her first time representing her country. 

  Rounding out the local ties for the Athletics Canada track and field team is Border City Athletics Head Coach and Windsor native, Kurt Downes. He will join nine other coaches on the national team. Downes has previously worked with McBride and numerous others from Windsor-Essex, in addition to coaching at the national-level.

 The Olympics kicks off with the opening ceremonies on July 23 and will run until August 8, 2021.


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