Coast to coast, it was a big weekend for the Highland Games in Canada, and Francis Brebner filed this report for IronMind®.
The Fort Edmonton and Halifax Highland Games by Francis Brebner.
It was a busy weekend for the Scottish Heavy Events, with two big competitions at opposite ends of Canada. On the west coast, the Fort Edmonton Highland Games in Alberta drew 12 of western Canada's best throwers, including stone putt record holder Matt Doherty. On the east coast, 14 throwers took to the field at the 35th Halifax Highland Games, including three-time Canadian champion Greg Hadley and nationally second-ranked Lyle Barron. This weekend of competition served as the final tune-up for the Canadian Championships to be held at the 145th Antigonish Highland Games on July 19 - 20.
In Fort Edmonton, Alberta, Matt Doherty stole the show by establishing a new Canadian record in the heavy stone putt with a massive throw of 49' 10", which smashed the previous record of 47' 1", set by Dan Markovic in 1990. This putt of Matt's is currently the farthest throw in the world at the moment. Matt was thrilled to set the record and is feeling in top form for the Canadian Championships next weekend. Matt is one of Canada's top shot putters and wire hammer throwers. Full event results were unavailable at press time.
On the east coast, the 35th Halifax Highland Games in Halifax, Nova Scotia, hosted 14 throwers, including 6 competitors who will be fighting for the Canadian title. It was a day of personal records, as multiple throwers achieved lifetime best (PR) throws.
The opening event was the 23-lb. Braemar stone putt. Hadley took the win marginally over Jamie Peppard, with putt of 37' 7", with Peppard in second with 37' 6", and Danny Frame in third with 37' 5". Only 1" separated the top three, all of whom had personal bests. Hadley added that this was a difficult stone to throw, with many athletes around the 33' mark.
In the 17.2-lb. open stone, again Hadley snatched another win over Peppard with 48' 11", with Peppard in second with 45' 7", and Barron breaking into the third spot with 43' 7".
In the third event, the 56-lb. weight for distance, Barron won with a massive PR of 43' 4"; second was Hadley with 43' 1" and third, Peppard with 35' 6".
However in the 28-lb. weight for distance, Hadley won the event outright, with a throw of 83' 7" for his third win and also another PR. Barron was second with 77' 11", and Peppard third with 73' 11", pulling out his second best all-time throw.
In the 22-lb. hammer, Hadley mentioned that the Dartmouth Commons were tinder dry, making it very difficult to dig in with the spikes and get a good foothold (at least for Hadley, he added) but these conditions didn't seem to bother Lyle Barron, with the winning throw of 107' 8.5", for yet another massive PR. Hadley had to be content with a throw of 100' 1", which was well under the Canadian champion's capability. Kevin Robinson was third with 96' 1".
In the 16-lb. hammer, again Barron took another hammer win of 129', a second all-time best throw for him. Hadley was second with 128' 8", and Walsh third with 115' 3".
In the 56-lb. weight over the bar, 4 competitors were still in at 16', a true first for the Maritimes and the weight used actually weighed in at 57 lb. This event was a three-way tie between Hadley, Frame, and Barron at 16', all of whom had PRs once again. In fourth was Peppard with 15' 6".
Greg Hadley finished first overall, with Lyle Barron second, Jamie Peppard third, and Danny Frame fourth. Hadley achieved personal best throws in the 23-lb. Braemar stone putt (37' 6"), the 28-lb. weight for distance (83' 7"), and the 56-lb. weight for height (16').
Hadley gave praise to Lyle Barron, who established five personal best throws and solidified himself as a true world-class thrower: "Barron has been throwing now for four years in track and field and Highland Games, but in the last two he has been focusing more on Highland Games, and if he keeps on going the way he is, I am going to have a real force to contend with in the very near future."
"With so many PRs being established in just one Games by several athletes, this just shows us that the standard of throwing is well on its way up in Canada," Hadley added.
This upcoming weekend will see Canada's 10 top-ranked throwers descend on Antigonish, Nova Scotia, for the Canadian Scottish Athletic Federation Championships. Athletes will arrive in beautiful Antigonish on Thursday, July 17, to enjoy the world-famous Maritime hospitality. The championships will take place over two days. Live streaming results will be available on the message forum of the CSAF website and watch for reports on IronMind's News column.