BC Athletics

Athletics Canada Report

2003 can be counted as the year in which it can truly be said that the lingering aftermath of the previous administration and the negativism of the Sydney Olympics was finally lifted from Canadian Athletics.

Not only was the new Strategic Plan in place and being used on a day-to-day basis for decision-making and administrative guidance, but the spirit of commitment to excellence at all levels of Canada's international performance was more evident than it has ever been.

Approximately 400 athletes, coaches and technical/medical support staff participated in 20 major international events with an uplifting level of excellence at all age levels. The outstanding performance of Perdita Felicien in the 100m Hurdles at the World Championships in Paris (which resulted in her being named as Canada's Female Athlete of the Year), together with the medals collected by Mark Boswell, Diane Roy and Jeff Adams completed the harvest of such trophies garnered at the Pan-American Games, Paralympic competitions in Switzerland and Great Britain, and - most significantly for the future of our sport - at the World Youth Championships in Sherbrooke, Quebec, where Kyle Helf and our own Chris Winter brought the crowd to its feet with their medal-winning efforts - "firsts" for Canada at this level of competition.

But it wasn't just the medal winners. It was the overall depth of performance, especially at Sherbrooke, and the intensity of feeling towards a total team effort that marked the strength of this year's performances. It showed acceptance of the philosophy adopted by Alex Gardiner in his role of Head Coach for all our teams, which is that every team member must be ready and willing to support every other team member and, above all, that everybody's training must be geared towards performance on the day.

On the financial front, progress towards debt reduction continues on pace, without any reduction in the commitment to (a) continue fielding the best possible teams at the international level and (b) the ongoing development of the sport.

In this context, the work that began on the redesign of the "Run, Jump, Throw" program in conjunction with the World Championships in Edmonton was given two significant marks of recognition at Sherbrooke where our Minister for Sport, Paul de Villers, undertook to double the funding that Athletics Canada receives for such development work, and IAAF President Lamine Diack pledged that RJT would become a basic tool in the IAAF's program of international athletic development.

Design work on the new CBET modules, with which all sports have been struggling, has continued under the leadership of Bruce Pirnie and with support from the Coaching Association of Canada. The "Introduction to Competition" segments will be ready to replace the former Levels 1 and 2 ( theory, technical and practical) on April 1, 2004. Pre-testing of some of the components was carried out with the Senior Coaches in attendance at the Legion Camp and Championships this year, indicating that this annual event has achieved a new level of importance within our overall program by providing an elevated of level of coaching for the participants.

One other milestone of significance was achieved in 2003. The Board charged with the administration of the Legacy Fund arising from the 2001 World Championships in Edmonton was able to put the finishing touches to an agreement which, when ratified by the Senate of the University of Alberta, will see the inauguration of a new Canadian Athletics Coaching Centre based at the U. of A., designed to provide both in-house and outreach programs for the development of coaches and coaching programs. It is anticipated that these will include opportunities for event groups to not only receive specialized coaching but to do so within an international competitive environment.

With these developments, plus the extensive coverage of Athletics by the CBC (which considers our sport to be the flagship of amateur sport in Canada), the prospect of our athletes reaping medals at Athens and beyond is now starting to be recognized, not only within the sport but by the media. The understanding and support given to the national program by the Provincial Branches is one of the keys helping to ensure that the goals established within the Strategic Plan for 2008 and the following years will be realized.

Respectfully submitted,

Danny Daniels,
Vice-Chair, Athletics Canada