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UBC Olympians to compete at UBC Open this weekend

Published by
Ben Thistlewood   Apr 5th 2012, 5:11am

Olympian Mike Mason, soon-to-be Olympian Inaki Gomez, and Olympic hopefuls Evan Dunfee and Ben Thorne all have at least three things in common – they are former or current Thunderbirds, they hope to be at the London Olympics this summer, and they will be competing at the UBC Open this Saturday.


The Open, taking place at the Rashpal Dhillon UBC Track & Field Oval, promises to be a low-stress event for these athletes, who often have to travel across the globe for competitions.


Mason, a high jumper and 2008 Olympian, will be looking to leap 2.31 m – the ‘A+’ standard Athletics Canada has set needed to qualify for London. While at UBC, Mason won three gold medals at the NAIA Championships, and set the NAIA Championships record, and was named the UBC male athlete of the year in 2008. Recently, he placed seventh at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.


Gomez, Dunfee, and Thorne are all race walkers, coached by Gerry Dragomir. The three will compete in a 5,000 m race on Saturday.


Gomez recently secured a spot at the London Games by achieving the Olympic ‘A+’ standard at a 20 km race walk competition in Taicang, China. Like Mason, Gomez is also a three-time NAIA champion, and in 2011 won the UBC male athlete of the year award.


Dunfee is the reigning NAIA champion, and current record-holder in the men’s 5,000 race walk.


He and UBC first-year Ben Thorne both have the Olympic ‘B’ standard, but need the ‘A’ to get to London – a feat they will attempt to achieve at the IAAF Race Walking Cup in Saransk, Russia, on May 12. Gomez will also be attending this race.


Thorne is the current Canadian junior record-holder in the men’s 10,000 m race walk.


“I am very pleased to have Mike, Inaki, Evan, and Ben competing in this early-season meet,” says UBC head coach Marek Jedrzejek.


“Their careers at UBC are, and have been, key to their development. We look forward to having them compete to their best, and inspire a new generation of Thunderbirds.”


The men’s high jump starts at 2:00 pm, and the 5,000 m race walk begins at 3:00 pm.


Follow @ubctrack on Twitter for live updates from the meet.

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