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HIGH ACHIEVERS WEEKEND WRAP: Connor Fraser wins Canadian U20 shot put title with PB, after discus disappointment

By Martin Cleary

Connor Fraser’s introduction to the Canadian senior/U20 athletics championships was a night-and-day experience.

The Ottawa Lions Track and Club thrower was confident he could win the men’s U20 discus title as he was ranked No. 2 in the country. But a bad case of nerves on Thursday prevented him from even qualifying for the final eight and making three more tosses.

Then, three days later, a more relaxed Fraser saw the technical aspects of heaving the shot put come together smoothly and he won the men’s junior gold medal with a personal-best distance. Fraser was ranked No. 1 in Canada in the men’s U20 shot put entering nationals.

The Lions produced two national gold medallists at the four-day national championships, which ended Sunday in Langley, B.C., and also had another first-place finisher.

Doyin Ogunremi, Sia Mahajan, Sydney Smith and Alexandra Telford captured the club’s other gold medal in the senior women’s 4×400-metre relay with a time of three minutes, 50.18 seconds. The Lions were dominant in the relays with one gold, five silvers and two bronze medals.

Nigeria’s Maria Okwechime, who competes for the Lions, won the senior women’s long jump by equalling her personal-best mark of 6.13 metres. But since she’s not a permanent resident of Canada, she was ineligible to receive the gold medal at nationals.

“I was upset with my discus on Thursday,” explained Fraser, who had the discus slip out of his hand in the first round and fouled in the second and third rounds. “I wasn’t so great. I technically got a mark, but I missed all my throws.

“You can’t be technical when you’re nervous. I was tight in warmup. I wasn’t loose. I let my nerves get to me.

“I didn’t expect it. It was my first time at a competition this big. I was lucky and happy because I learned from it. Going into the shot put, I was more relaxed.”

Fraser’s first-round toss of 39.40 metres in the discus was not only disappointing, but also left him in ninth place and unable to make the top eight for another round of three throws.

“That was a big letdown. But I feel it was a great experience as it took the pressure off my shoulders,” said Fraser, who felt additional pressure after his opening discus throw.

“I was hoping for a win, but nothing happened. But what helped is the Lions have such a great coaching staff. My coach (Tim Nedow) couldn’t make the trip to nationals, but coach Zach (Quevillon), who was a successful multi-event athlete, said that it (a disappointing result) happens.”

Fraser also spoke to Nedow by phone after the discus and “he told me back when he threw not everything was sunshine and rainbows.”

When the men’s U20 shot put event arrived on Sunday, Fraser was a new man.

“Going into the shot put, I felt I had my focus and knew what I had to do. I executed. My first-round throw was nice and slow. All my moves were right and I built on that steadily,” he added.

Fraser had two almost identical throws in his first two rounds – 16.17 metres and 16.18 metres – before he fouled in the third round. After qualifying for the final eight, he improved farther, throwing 17.10 metres, 16.52 metres and 17.11 metres.

His final throw smashed his personal-best of 16.58 metres from two weeks ago at the Ontario championships and strengthened his No. 1 ranking in Canada after nationals.

“I feel when the discus is flying well for me, I enjoy it more than shot,” said Fraser, who added his six-foot, one-inch frame may be better suited for the shot put. “The shot put will probably play out better for me, but there’s something about the discus that’s so much fun.”

Here is the list of other medal winners from the Ottawa Lions:

· Bianca Borgella, silver, women’s para ambulatory, 100 metres, 12.14 seconds.

· Elizabeth Vroom, silver, women’s U20 3,000-metre steeplechase, 10:45.46.

· Men’s U20 4×100-metre relay, Jay Yetman, Zachary Jeggo, Zachary Theodore, Kyle Waldrum, silver, 44.00.

· Women’s senior 4×100-metre relay, Paulina Procyk, Ella-Grace Gilbert, Courtney Cenac, Coralie Ostertag, 49.58.

· Women’s U20 4×400-metre relay, Koree Yach, Elizabeth Vroom, Amelia Van Brabant, Quinn Coughlin, silver, 4:14.07.

· Women’s senior 4×400-metre relay, Courtney Cenac, Kathryn Moreland, Coralie Ostertag, Bianca Borgella, silver, 4:16.40.

· Men’s senior 4×400-metre relay, Bertwin Ben-Smith, Stephen Evans, Lucas Zanetti, David Moulongou, silver, 3:15.81.

· David Adeleye, bronze, senior men’s 110-metre hurdles, 13.98.

· Stephen Evans, bronze, senior men’s 800 metres, 1:47.02 (club record).

· Kevin Robertson, bronze, senior men’s 3,000-metre steeplechase, 8:37.94.

· Men’s senior 4×100-metre relay, Seiyf Udeen Gebara, Bertwin Ben-Smith, David Adeleye, Michael Pinnock, bronze, 41.82.

· Men’s U20 4×400-metre relay, Zachary Theodore, Eric Zielonka, Jay Yetman, Zachary Jeggo, bronze, 3:29.33.

The Ottawa athletes who won medals, while representing the Royal City Athletics Club in Guelph, were:

· Jacqueline Madogo, gold, senior women’s 200 metres, 22.91; bronze, senior women’s 100 metres, 11.33.

· Madeleine Kelly, gold, senior women’s 800 metres, 2:02.29.

· Keegan Gaunt, gold, women’s class 13 ambulatory 1,500 metres, 4:48.60.


Ottawa’s Vanessa Gilles and the Canadian women’s soccer team crashed out of the first round of the FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 4-0 defeat to host Australia on Monday morning (Canada time).

Canada finished the tournament with one win, one loss and one tie, following a 2-1 victory over Ireland and 0-0 draw with Nigeria. The Olympic champions finished third behind Australia and Nigeria to miss the knockout stage.

Gilles played every minute on defence for all three of Canada’s matches.


The Ottawa Rowing Club received gold-medal efforts from two quad sculls crews and won 14 medals in total at the Ontario rowing championships in Welland.

Kennedy Burrows, Madelaine Thiel, Rhiannon Murphy and Leona Smith were first in the senior women’s quad sculls in eight minutes, 4.951 seconds over 2,000 metres and posted a 9.816-second win over Guelph.

The senior men’s quad sculls crew of Andrei Vovk, Fabian Erazo, Robert Park and Brendan Edge was the fastest boat in their final in 6:25.980. They won by 1.180 seconds over Peterborough. Earlier, Park and Edge claimed silver in the senior men’s 72.5-kilogram double sculls in 7:50.545.

Burrows also was a silver medallist with Anne-Andrée Sirois in the senior women’s double sculls in 7:49.824.

Thiel and Smith were in the silver-medal winning senior women’s eight+ along with Abby Dyer, Amelia Krelove, Angelica Hadjis, Melanie Coulson, Riley Richardson, Kendra Hurtubise and coxswain Mary-Beth Foley.

Richardson and Hurtubise picked up a silver medal in the U23 women’s eight+ with Jasmine Foreman, Rhiannon Crichton, Hadjis, Emelyn Rogers, Dyer, Vienna Scholten and coxswain Varya Kataria as well as a bronze in the senior women’s coxless four with Crichton and Dyer.

The Ottawa Rowing Club took two medals in the senior men’s double sculls final as Matthew Lazurek and Grayson Gray were second in 7:58.627 and Vovk and Erazo took third in 8:02.540.

In the senior men’s 72.5-kilogram class, Alexander Ladage, Paul Zaporzan, Ryan Hatcher and Mikhaeil Ibrahim-Qayyum were second in the coxless four at 6:37.420 and third in the quad sculls at 6:42.551.

The Ottawa Rowing Club’s other medallists were: Gabrielle Jennings, Dahlia Rostom, Katy Colby and Maia Hembruff, silver, U19 women’s quad sculls, 8:01.943; Jack Coulson and Maxim Froeschl, bronze, U17 men’s double sculls, 7:17.480; and Benjamin Koskowich, Sam Hurtubise, Alexandre Disselkamp and Vincent O’Shaughnessey, bronze, senior men’s quad sculls, 6:28.200.


East Nepean Eagles are scheduled to play Latin America rep Matamoros, Mexico, on Tuesday morning in their second game at the Senior Little League Baseball World Series in Easley, South Carolina.

The Eagles lost their opening game Saturday 11-1 to Kennemerland of Haarlem, The Netherlands, in a mercy-ruled, five-inning game. Kennemerland scored three runs in the first inning, two in the second and six in the fifth inning.

East Nepean, which scored its only run in the fifth inning and played errorless baseball, had singles from Thomas White, Nolan Beelen, Jeffrey Luo and Redi Maika. Luo had the team’s only RBI.

Starter Charlie McDougall was the losing pitcher, allowing seven hits and nine earned runs over four innings and adding four strikeouts. David Kelly pitched one inning of relief and gave up two hits, which led to two earned runs. He also had two strikeouts.


· Captain Claire Gallagher of Caledon, ON., and Winnipeg’s Tylo Borsboom, both of the University of Ottawa, Ottawa’s Maddy Kushner of Queen’s University and Ottawa’s Brianna Martey of the University of Guelph helped Canada’s women’s 15s rugby team win the Border Battle in Boston, sweeping the United States 24-5 and 55-14.

· The Canadian women’s water polo team finished seventh at the world aquatics championships in Fukuoka, Japan, following a 14-12 win over Greece in its final classification game. Goalkeeper Jessica Gaudreault of Ottawa stopped nine of 19 shots for Canada, which had an overall record of 4-3.

The national men’s team placed 12th, after losing classification games to Croatia, 13-5, and Japan, 23-11. Ottawa’s Bogdan Djerkovic scored eight goals at worlds for Canada, which went 1-5, while Gatineau’s Aleksa Gardijan had six goals and Gatineau’s David Lapins counted one goal.

· Westport Storm and West Carleton Electric finished second and third respectively at the Ontario Amateur Softball Association provincial B championship in Cobourg. Westport defeated West Carleton 8-5 in the semifinals, but lost to Wilmot Thunder 7-0 in the final as Cohen Christner tossed a no-hitter.

Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 50 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.

When the pandemic struck, Martin created the High Achievers “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at

Martin can be reached by e-mail at and on Twitter @martincleary.

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