Langley Mustangs high jumper Aiden Grout is just a few centimetres away from qualifying for the World Junior U20 Championships.
With competitions few and far between during the pandemic, Grout, who is from Maple Ridge, was happy to be back on the field, posting back-to-back jumps of 2.12M at two recent Toronto meets.
That happens to be just a few centimetres short of the 2.16M qualifying height for the world championships that are scheduled for August 17 – 22 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Grout was optimistic following his most recent meet on the March 13 weekend, telling the Langley Advance Times “it is super early in the season and I’ve had a pretty good start so far.”
In fact, his results so far have him at the top of the national rankings, in a tie for first.
Despite COVID-19 training constraints that have included no contact with his current coach at the University of Toronto since November, no outdoor season in 2020, or a Canadian university season in 2021, Grout has managed to sustain his momentum from his previous four years with the Mustangs, when he was ranked one of the top jumpers in North America for his age group.
“Covid has made training difficult so far, so I am very happy with where I’m at with such limited training, and I think that there is still a lot more to come, later on in the season,” Grout commented.
He’s aiming to clear 2.2m this season, and to qualify for the U20 national team.
“My main long-term goal is directed towards making the 2024 Olympics in Paris,” Grout added.
Grout originally joined track because he wanted to be a 100m sprinter but discovered a talent – and passion – for the high jump.
Langley Mustangs coach Kevin Harrison said Grout has been “very successful in making the difficult transition from high school to university level track.”
Harrison, who coached Grout for the past four years, said the jumper “brings a lot of energy to the event, (is) always open to feedback and challenges to improve, and is a fierce competitor.”
With training restrictions expected to ease over the next few months, Grout will be able to return to a full training regimen at the U of T with his coach and training partners.
“The near future looks bright,” Harrison predicted.
Grout was the B.C high school high jump champion in 2019, and set a new school record of 2.09 metres, which broke the old record, set by Nick Wilkes in 1994.
He is also the 2020 recipient of the prestigious Harry Jerome Scholarship given by B.C. Athletics.
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