Penticton’s Zoe Simourd couldn’t have picked a better athlete to look up to than Jamaica’s Usain Bolt.
Simourd has something in common with Bolt as she’s a fast runner too, but she also admires his laid back approach to track and field.
“He’s not super serious about it,” said Simourd of the eight-time world champion, who owns world records in the 100-metre sprint, 200-m and 4×100-m distance.
That’s how she wants to go about her business while representing the Thompson-Okanagan zone 2 in the B.C. Summer Games in Nanaimo July 17-20 in the triple jump and 200-metre hurdles.
“Some people take it too seriously. It’s just not fun anymore. I’m only a kid still,” said the 13-year-old. “It’s not like the end of the world.”
Simourd also likes Bolt because he “seems like a really nice guy.”
“He always does really good. Even if he doesn’t do good, he’s not selfish about it,” she said during a break in a Penticton Athletics Club training session at the Pen High track. “He always congratulates the other athletes.”
Simourd is excited about competing in the summer games calling it a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“I think it will just be lots of fun,” said Simourd, who wasn’t sure if she would qualify after her performance of landing 8.47-m in the triple jump at the Kamloops Centennial meet in May. “It’s just going to be a new experience.”
Simourd’s coach with the Penticton Athletics Club, Blair Dufty, said it’s a big step to qualify as there are a lot of strong athletes in Zone 2. Dufty, who works alongside coach Gustav Allander, said he thinks Simourd will perform very well.
“I hope top-10. There are lots of kids she doesn’t compete against normally,” he said.
Dufty believes Simourd will have success because of the work she puts in.
“She comes to practice and works hard every single day,” he said. “She isn’t here to fool around. She wants to improve and sets goals for herself that are very reasonable, yet I think ambitious.”
Dufty, one of three coaches for the zone, said Simourd is learning how to run the 200-m hurdles. Dufty said a top-15 result for her would be outstanding. Of course he didn’t rule out a surprise performance either.
Simourd got into the sport at age 10 after her family moved back to Penticton from Dubai. While living in Dubai, she was always cramped up in the small apartment. Upon returning, her parents looked for sports for the kids to try.
“It’s been lots of fun,” she said.
Simourd isn’t the only member of the Penticton Athletics Club competing in the games. Dufty’s daughter Hunter, of Summerland, qualified in the javelin, shot put and discus. Dufty is excited to take both athletes to Nanaimo and hopes Hunter also returns with some medals.
“Hunter has potential to medal in all three of her events,” he said, if she has personal bests and performs
like she can.