Oshawa's Mariam Abdul-Rashid perfect at nationals

Sprinter wins gold in all six events she entered

PICKERING -- It's easy to put the accomplishments of Mariam Abdul-Rashid into perspective.

Take baseball for example. If a player has enough days where he goes one-for-three at the plate and can maintain a .300 batting average, he's likely destined for the hall of fame.

If such a shrine was established for athletes who have competed at the Canadian national youth track-and-field championships, Oshawa's Mariam Abdul-Rashid would be a lock to be inducted on the first ballot.

In six events at the championships held in Charlottetown, PEI, Abdul-Rashid scored a perfect six-for-six, winning gold medals in every event she entered.

She took the top spot on the medal podium after crossing the line first in each of the 100m, 200m, 300m, 4x100m sprint medley relay and 4x400m relay.

"She's so much fun. It's so easy to work with an athlete like that," says Tony Sharpe, her coach at the Speed Academy, based in Pickering. "I don't think she's missed one practice in a year. She doesn't miss practice.

"It's not because she's looking forward to the work, it's the camaraderie with the other girls that you don't often see in track and field being an individual sport."

Just before nationals, Sharpe says he limited the number of events his prized sprinter entered at provincials to just one individual and two relay events, ensuring she was rested and peaking at the right time for nationals.

Good call, as the results would suggest.

"Other coaches might have put her in everything and then tried to come back in two weeks and do it all over again," says Sharpe. "We viewed this as the objective of the season to go to PEI."

Abdul-Rashid will be off the track for a month before she joins the rest of her Speed Academy teammates in preparation for the indoor season.

Tony Sharpe helps score scholarships for track and field stars

tony sharpe

Sharpe, the former Canadian Olympian, runs the Speed Academy, a developmental track and field club in Pickering, which has helped dozens of athletes get NCAA scholarships.

The club was founded in 2006 and Sharpe left his corporate account manager’s job at Bell to track athletes full-time a few years later.

“I’m a full-time coach, you know, not something people do often in Canada,” says Sharpe, 59, adding about 50 Speed Academy athletes have received scholarships.