An injury is preventing Sidney’s Dan Daniels from going to France this summer to participate in the 2015 World Masters Athletics championships — but he says he’ll be ready next year.
Daniels, 86, is among a small group of people set to be inducted into Athletics Canada’s Hall of Fame in July. He’s listed as a builder, having served on the national sport organization’s board of directors from 2000 to 2012. He was also the “inspiration and driving force behind the creation of the Athletics Canada Hall of Fame in 2010.” Daniels also represented Athletics Canada at the international level with the IAAF Masters Committee and served as head of the Canadian track and field delegation at world championships, Pan Am Games and Paralympic Games between 2001 and 2008.
Daniels is still very much active in sport and has been involved with the Peninsula Track and Field Club since moving to Sidney in 1990.
He recently suffered a spinal compression fracture and is forced to miss the world championships in France this year. He said he’ll get back on track to be ready for a decathlon championship event next year in Vancouver.
Daniels said he was very pleased to learn of the Athletics Canada honour.
“It’s taken some time to sink in,” Daniels said from home this week. “I’m going through all of the emotions you would expect.”
Daniels has been involved in sport all his life and it has taken him nearly around the world.
“I have to credit my wife, Marjorie,” he said. “I’ve had to be away, overseas, with Team Canada athletes and in other capacities and she has been incredibly supportive.”
Daniels currently holds a variety of age group records and medals, yet he said he has always found it important to reach young athletes — and potential athletes — to help build the sport.
“I encourage anybody to take part in this sport (athletics),” he explained. “It’s the basics of everything we do, running, jumping, throwing.”
Locally, Daniels started the Peninsula club’s Track Rascals program, introducing various events in track and field to young children.
“It was the first of its kind in Canada,” he said, adding it’s important to give kids a chance to discover the sport.
From there, he said the club helps athletes improve and move up to organizations and coaches that can get them to the next level.
“We see the potential and encourage athletes to move up. We build (the sport) in that way.”
Daniels has also been at the fore of an attempt to repair or replace the track at Parkland Secondary School. It’s a battle that continues to this day, after more than a decade of trying, he said.
While he’s at home, recovering from injury, Daniels is able to keep busy.
He’s a semi-professional singer, a tenor he said, and has also conducted various choirs and orchestras.
Outside of athletics, Daniels tries to give something back to his community.
In May 2014, Daniels invited another singer to Sidney and they hosted a fundraising concert for a former athlete who developed Multiple Sclerosis. That concert raised $12,000.
“It seemed an appropriate way to help,” he said.
His athletic background has certainly helped him with the singing.
“Clearly, it enables me to hit the high notes,” he laughed.
Daniels also enjoys tap dancing with Marjorie, but that too is on hiatus until he heals. He said his wife suggested he take up knitting to help pass the time.
The induction ceremony takes place in Toronto July 24, in conjunction with the Pan Am Games-themed alumni gala. At that time, he and all inductees will be joined by Athletics Canada’s 2014 annual award winners.