Track and field athletes striving for personal best performances at games

Nicole Mann and Haven Dufty are striving for personal bests during the B.C. Summer Games

Haven dufty

Haven dufty

Peak performances and personal bests are two things Gustav Allander is looking for from Nicole Mann and Haven Dufty during the B.C. Summer Games.

The Penticton Athletics coach said if they both do that in Surrey from July 19 to 22, that is all that can be asked.

“The results will come after that,” said Allander.

Mann and Dufty will represent Penticton in the Thompson-Okanagan zone two in Surrey. Chasing personal bests is all Mann wants to do when she goes up against B.C.’s best in the 100 and 200-metre sprints. Winning a medal is just gravy.

“I have always been pretty good at running,” said Mann, who joined the Penticton Athletics Club in 2011 on advice from her teacher.

Since qualifying, the Okanagan Falls resident’s confidence has boosted.

“I know I can do the things and compete at such a high level,” she said, adding that there is excitement about the games and meeting new people.

Mann, 14, credits Allander with improving her running form and pushing her to strive past her limits. She is always aiming to set the bar higher. That is why she looks up to triathlete Paula Findlay, who will represent Canada during the London Olympics.

“I think she is an amazing athlete who always pushes herself beyond her abilities,” said Mann. “Because of her I started triathlons which I still participate in. She’s a really big inspiration to me.”

While Mann loves running on the track, she also utilizes her speed on the soccer pitch. It was while playing soccer for the Thompson Okanagan Soccer Club that she lost three months of training after breaking her ankle. Mann was able to get back on track in April but was limited to two training sessions a week while she played soccer. She has also recently played with the Penticton Pinnacles under-21 women’s team in the Pacific Coast Soccer League.

Allander found it interesting that she qualified in the 100 and 200-m sprints because Mann’s strengths lie in the 300 and 800-m events.

When Dufty found out she qualified, her jaw hit the floor. Now she doesn’t hide the fact that she’s nervous about competing in the 80-m hurdles and triple jump.

“I get to compete with better athletes from all around B.C. and I’m training harder to try and excel just as well as they do,” said Dufty. “I’m looking to improve on my triple jump and by making a personal best and a faster time in the hurdles.”

Allander said that Dufty has a good chance to place in the 80-m hurdles because it’s her best event. She recently dropped her time by half a second, which Allander said is significant

Her motivation is simple.

“Just being able to do something that I like to do,” said Dufty, who lives to play sports as she also plays basketball and volleyball. “It’s a good way to stay fit.”

Both athletes will have a chance to set new personal bests before the games and iron out any kinks as the club heads to Coquitlam for the B.C. club championship this weekend.

“In the relay I think they can do really well,” said Allander, adding that the club has been working on handoffs. “Nicole and Haven are really familiar with each other. Quite often if you have perfect passes you can sometimes beat teams that are faster.”