The Pen Track Pentathlon competition staged at the Parkland track was like the 1992 Olympics all over again.
That year, the heavy favourite to win the Olympic decathlon event was Dan O’Brien of the USA. However, in the United Sates trials, after leading on the first day, O’Brien failed to clear the bar in his attempts at the pole vault, so did not score any points in that event. Thus he lost his chance to make the United States team for those Games.
On June 5, in the Boys 10-year-old pentathlon competition, Pen Trackers Isaiah Smith and James Coulson batted it out neck and neck for the title –- until they came to the high jump. And then, like O’Brien many years ago, Smith failed to clear the bar on his first three jumps, and so wound up with no points for that event.
Nevertheless, his other performances in the hurdles, long jump, shot and 600m were so good that he still finished in second place with 1,017 points to Coulson, whose winning total was 1,209 points.
Other less dramatic winners were Michael Giles, 14, with 1,278 points and Caelan MacEwan, 15, who totaled 2,071 points. Other silver medal winners were 12-year-old Julia Irwin with 1,970 and Ben Sammons (who also failed to score points in his long jump event) with 931. Matteo Hilton, in his first year of competition, was in the bronze medal position for nine-year-olds with 842 points.
A Weight Pentathlon competition (involving the shot, discus, javelin, hammer and heavy weight events) was also staged and here 15-year-old Courtenay Neville-Rutherford, of Parkland and Pen Track, topped the field with an impressive total of 3,444 — surely a sign of great things to come.
Masters competitors dominated the rest of the field, with Don Brodeur (M60) scoring 3,266 and Sandy Anderson (W70) recording 3,093 to win their respective classes, while second place finishes went to W50 Anne Murfitt (1,957) and Peggy Morfitt (W70) with 1,834.
On a final note, Smith can take comfort in the fact that in the following 1996 Olympics, O’Brien came back to win the decathlon gold medal.