Stroda tops in nation but no trips to podium
Aaron Stroda was unbeatable at the Canadian Legion Track and Field Championships in Langley, but didn't get to bring home any hardware for his efforts.
The Grade 12 student at Okanagan Mission Secondary posted the best numbers in all three throwing events he entered at the youth nationals in Langley Aug. 9 to 11, but was not awarded any medals due to an eligibility issue related to citizenship.
Born in Germany, Stroda has been a permanent resident of Canada since 2006 but is not yet a Canadian citizen.
According to Athletics Canada, athletes that do not have Canadian citizenship but are permanent residents of Canada can compete at national events but can not win championships.
Athletics Canada informed Stroda and his family of the ruling prior to the championships.
"This situation was very hard for all of us and can throw an athlete off easily," said
Dirk Stroda, Aaron's dad and Mental Performance Coach for several Olympic champions. "Athletics Canada responded immediately to the situation. They will review the rule at their next AGM, however they couldn't make any immediate changes as it needs to be voted on by its members. On the other hand Athletic Canada confirmed that Aaron would keep his previous national titles and medals."
Disappointed but undeterred by the ruling, Stroda made the best of a difficult situation heading into the competition in Langley.
"I know that complaining about the situation wouldn't help me at all in my preparation for the event," said Stroda had won six medals previously at nationals in 2011 and 2012. "You can't change facts and rule books are full of facts. So I switched gear and focused on trying to have my best performances this year in Langley."
Stroda responded on Day 1 of the nationals, topped the discus competition with a new personal best of 52.32 metres.
On Day 2, another strong performance as Stroda grabbed the top spot in U18 shot-put with a throw of 16.29m.
He then rounded out a stellar weekend on Day 3 with a career best toss of 57.94m, the best among all hammer throw competitors.
"It is my intent to compete at junior nationals next year with a Canadian passport in my bag," said Stroda. "In my heart I am already Canadian."
Aaron's coach and mom, Verena Stroda, was proud of her son's effort under trying circumstances.
"Overall, this weekend was difficult at the beginning and during the competition but at the end it can be described as epic," Verena Stroda said. "I am not sure if any athlete dominated in three different single events this weekend and if one athlete had ever threw the furthest in three throwing competitions at the same event. I guess it was something for the books, for sure."