Speed Academy athletes set Canadian records at junior Worlds

Oshawa’s Mariam Abdul-Rashid finishes fifth in 400m hurdles

EUGENE. OREGON -- Two members of the Pickering-based Speed Academy turned in record-setting performances at the world junior track-and-field championships in Oregon.

Oshawa’s Mariam Abdul-Rashid finished in fifth place in the 400-metre hurdles final, setting a Canadian youth record of 57.42 seconds, while Pickering’s Taylor Sharpe was the lead runner for Canada’s 4x400m relay team that finished fourth and set a Canadian junior record of 3:33.17.

There were three other Speed Academy athletes at the meet, including Leya Buchanan, who was eliminated in semifinals of the 200m, but not before running a personal best of 23.96 in the first round.

Graeme Thompson was eliminated in the first round of 400m, running 49.01, while Josh Cunningham was eliminated in the 400m semifinal, running 47.91.

Ajax’s Tia Thevenin, who is with the Project Athletics club in Markham, was eliminated in the semifinal of 100m hurdles, and set a personal best of 13.63 in the first round.

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.