Jessica Frotten collects four national medals despite injury

Going into her third track nationals, Whitehorse’s Jessica Frotten wasn’t so concerned with winning medals. She was much more interested in impressing the Team Canada directors.

Going into her third track nationals, Whitehorse’s Jessica Frotten wasn’t so concerned with winning medals. She was much more interested in impressing the Team Canada directors who will choose athletes for the 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this September.

Hampered by tendonitis, she’s not sure she did that.

“It was probably my worst performance,” said Frotten. “I hurt my shoulder going into it and it’s still bugging me, so I really didn’t race the way I wanted to and the way I hoped to, unfortunately.

“I was faster last year at nationals.”

Despite the injury, the 28-year-old para wheelchair racer bagged two silver and two bronze medals at the Canadian Track and Field Championships – which was also the Paralympic trials – over the weekend in Edmonton.

Though she made B standard qualifying times for Rio in the three events she’s gunning for, she’d feel better if she got another A standard under her belt.

Frotten, who has achieved A standard times in the 100-metre in the past, hopes to do the same for the 400- and 800-metre events at a meet this week in Quebec City, the home of the reputed fastest track in Canada.

“I don’t think I showed the (Team Canada) head coach what my potential is, so I’m going out on Friday for one more meet – my very last shot – in Quebec,” said Frotten. “Our Paralympic team is named on the 25th (of July), so we still have a little bit of time in our selection.”

“The only thing that will make (my shoulder) better is rest, but I can’t rest it right now,” she added. “I’m doing everything I can to keep it settled down – lots of ice and that sort of thing. I won’t be doing any high-volume kind of stuff, but I still have to prepare for the races.”

Frotten won silver in the 100-metre with a time of 19.44, 0.39 seconds from the A standard.

She also won silver in the 200-metre, which is not a Paralympic event, though Frotten wishes it was. She finished third overall, coming in behind Bermuda’s Jessica Lewis, who as a non-citizen of Canada is ineligible for medals at the national championship.

“I really, really wished I could have raced better this weekend. I’d be feeling a lot more comfortable,” said Frotten. “But that didn’t happen, so I guess I’m really going to have to kick some butt out in Quebec.

“I think the team knows how it is, that my shoulder was really holding me back.”

Frotten placed fourth in both the 400- and 800-metre races, moving up to bronze with finishes behind Lewis. Both races were won by Diane Roy of Sherbrooke, Quebec.

“Technically because Diane Roy is in a different class – she’s in the T54 class – I would never race her (at a major international competition),” said Frotten, a T53 racer. “We all race together in Canada because there are not enough of us.”

Frotten, who races for the Saskatoon Cyclones Racing Club, won five medals at the 2015 track nationals.

With those results she was selected for the Toronto 2015 Parapanam Games where she won medals in two of her three events.

Frotten then made two finals at the IPC worlds last fall in Qatar, placing seventh in the 200-metre and eighth in the 100-metre.

Frotten also won two gold and a silver at the 2014 Canadian track championships.

“This year it was much bigger because it was the trials as well, so the energy was pretty high around the whole place,” said Frotten. “A whole bunch of my family came out. I think the fan section was 30 strong or something. They are the loudest ones out there. It was super awesome to have that kind of support.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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