(Trois-Rivieres) The City of Edmonton will vibrate to the rhythm of athletics this weekend and cream of young members of the club Zenix Mauricie will be ringside to see the excitement.
No less than six of the protected Zenix got their standards to take part at the Canadian Track and Field Championships, the last appointment for the elite athletes of the country before the Rio Olympics.
Unsurprisingly, Antoine Thibeault embody the Zenix leading figure in the Alberta capital. Double indoor champion in the Canadian university system, the rider from Saint-Gerard-des-Laurentides will rub the best fans in the 3,000 steeplechase senior, who will represent Canada in Brazil within a month.
At this time last year, Thibeault was impressed by finishing fifth in the event, one of the most competitive in the country among the disciplines of athletics.
Three athletes already have their Olympic standard pocket and they must simply ensure a podium to confirm their place on the Canadian team. We must therefore expect a more or less rapid race this Saturday.
“I will try to stay as long as group leaders and then we will see what happens,” said Thibeault When asked about his aspirations to Edmonton.
“I’m in shape, I ran down to 8:40 three times so far. But I do not put pressure on myself. My Olympic cycle, I know it’s more for Tokyo 2020. In four years, who knows, I may be in the shoes of the favorites for the Games. ”
Marie-Frederique Poulin, Marianne Houle, Lisanne Guerin, William Gagnon and William Labrèche Zenix complement the team. Enrolled in junior, Poulin and Gagnon are still juvenile age, hence the importance of moderate expectations, notes Pierre Thibodeau their coach.
Never mind Gagnon (400 m) and Poulin (400 hurdles) could cause a surprise by qualifying for their respective finals.
As for Labreche (800 m junior) Guerin (800m senior) and Houle (1500 m junior), they must go through the qualification process and seek a place in the semifinals.
Tribute to Genest
Although the facts of the problems of its old colt, Pierre Thibodeau nonetheless disappointed to learn that the Olympic dream of Alex Genest is completed.
Thibodeau, who was his coach for ten years, holds that this long career was marked by perseverance. “Every time we thought he had hit rock bottom, it surprised us. That’s what I believed until the end of this year, even with his foot injury that prevented him from running. ”
Thibodeau also remembers this young teenager, before discovering the steeplechase in 2003, did not show the lot among the riders in Quebec and Canada in his age group. “The 2003 Youth World Championships were a great revelation.”
Their partnership lasted until 2008, when Genest, in only 22 years, failed in his attempt to get his ticket to the Beijing Games. His relationship with Thibodeau was then darkened.
“We crashed for Beijing, we have made mistakes. Alex was young and I did not have the same experience either as a coach. We parted on bad terms. ”
A few years later, the hatchet was finally buried. The two men started to mingle and on the start line of the 3000m steeplechase at the Games of London, Genest later admitted to his former trainer that he had a thought for him.
“That’s also what I remember Alex. A guy who has always remained attached to his region, where it all started on a running track asphalt! ”