With one jump, Langley Mustangs high jumper Aiden Grout has qualified for the World U20 Championships in Kenya, the Junior Pan-American Games in Colombia, and secured a spot at the Olympic Trials in Montreal as well.
Grout, a Maple Ridge resident, cleared 2.17 metres on Wednesday, June 2 at McLeod Athletic Park at the Murrayville High Jump Invitational, beating his previous personal best of 2.09 set in May of 2019, as tabulated by worldatheltics.org.
Because of COVID-19 restrictions, there was no crowd to cheer the moment.
Langley Mustangs coach Kevin Harrison explained it happened during in-club performance trials that were sanctioned by BC Athletics and approved by the Township of Langley.
“These events were restricted to Mustangs athletes only and provided much needed competitive experience, and, in Aiden’s case, the opportunity to meet qualifying performance criteria for national and international events and teams,” Harrison told the Langley Advance Times.
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With the jump, Grout is now ranked fourth overall in Canada and seventh overall in the U20 World rankings.
“This accomplishment is all the more amazing because he has not had access to any high jump training or in person coaching since November of 2020,” Harrison explained.
“With high jump requiring a high degree of mental focus, it is difficult to achieve personal best performances without a strong base of early season training to build a foundation and a planned succession of competitions to slowly build towards peak performance late in the season. Aiden has had none of this to date, and only just recently managed to get some practices in here at Langley,” Harrison said.
Which is why Harrison believes Grout han’t reached his maximum performance yet this season, “so I am excited to see how he does with the second half of 2021.”
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At the 2021 Harry Jerome Invitational at Swanguard Stadium in Burnaby on Saturday, June 12, Grout finished second with a jump of 2.10 metres.
Harrison said as restrictions are lifted in the next few weeks in Ontario, Grout is expected to resume full outdoor training with his coach at the University of Toronto.
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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