Frotten rockets to second bronze at Parapans

Within a couple days of winning two medals at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto, Whitehorse's Jessica Frotten was already back on the track training.

Within a couple days of winning two medals at the Parapan Am Games in Toronto, Whitehorse’s Jessica Frotten was already back on the track training.

Her successes in Toronto could land her a spot on the Canada’s team heading to worlds and she’s not about to slow down.

“That team will be named in a couple weeks and I think I have a pretty good shot of being on it,” said Frotten. “So I’m just going back into training … I’d love to have a little bit of time off, but there’s just no time.”

The 27-year-old para wheelchair racer isn’t ready to slow down, she’s only getting faster.

Frotten captured her second Parapans bronze medal in the 400-metre on Friday, notching a personal best time of 1:01.13 in the final.

“I’m totally on a high right now,” said Frotten, who races in the T53 category. “It was an incredible experience just to go out on the track and have so many people cheering for you – the stands weren’t full by any means, but there were a lot of Canadian fans.”

“The 400 was my best race for sure,” she added. “Everything just came together and winning a bronze there was so awesome.”

Frotten took first in her 100-metre semi last Wednesday and went on to win bronze in the final on Thursday with a time of 19.25. She came in just 0.62 seconds behind silver medalist Ilana Dupont, a Paralympian and world championship medalist from Quebec.

Frotten beat Dupont in the 400-metre final that saw a Games record set by gold-winning American Chelsea McClammer.

“I’ve been chasing (Dupont) around the track all season, so to get her in the 400 was pretty good,” said Frotten. “We were roommates the whole time out there, we spent a lot of time together, so we’re pretty tight.”

Frotten has come a long way in a very short amount of time. She pocketed her first track wins in the spring of 2013 at a meet in Victoria, B.C., became a Canadian champion in 2014 and has now established herself as one of the top athletes in her sport.

Frotten, who also placed fourth in the 800-metre in Toronto on Thursday, was racing on Team Canada for her first time.

“It was just such a great experience. Toronto did such a great job putting everything on. Everyone was so nice and the whole Team Canada staff was on the ball for everything.

“On Friday – it was an hour bus ride between the village and the track – we got a police escort because traffic was so bad. There were three cops on motorcycles ahead of us and three behind us getting traffic out of the way.

“When I got off the podium there were so many people who wanted to have their pictures taken with me. I can’t even describe it – I felt like a star for sure.”

In addition to winning two medals in three events at the Parapans, Frotten has made all her time standards for the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships this October in Doha, Qatar.

The worlds would be a major stepping-stone for Frotten to achieve her ultimate goal: a spot on Team Canada at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.

“That’s my goal,” said Frotten. “I’ll see if I can make that happen.”

Frotten, who lives in Regina and races with the Saskatoon Cyclones, was selected for the Parapan Am Games following a stellar performance at the 2015 Canadian Track and Field Championships last month, winning two silver and three bronze. She won two national titles at the championships last year.

“I was blown away. My phone is blowing up, my Facebook was blowing up, there’s just so much support,” said Frotten. “To represent Canada was amazing, but it kind of put Yukon on the map out there and that was super sweet.

“A big shout out to the Yukon. You guys all make me feel so special.”

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