Yukon’s Jessica Frotten, pictured here at the 2013 Canada Summer Games Western Challenge, competed for Canada at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai.

Yukoner Jessica Frotten racks up top 10s at World Para Athletics Championships

“I’m really putting everything I’ve got into making that Canadian team for Tokyo”

Yukon’s Jessica Frotten was in Dubai for the World Para Athletics Championships from Nov. 7 to 15, returning home with three top-10 finishes.

Frotten started things off with the women’s 400-metre T53 final on Nov. 9, finishing seventh with a time of one minute and 2.27 seconds. Catherine Debrunner of Switzerland won the race with a time of 56.74 seconds.

In the women’s 800-m T53 final on Nov. 12, Frotten again finished seventh with a time of two minutes and 2.74 seconds. Australia’s Madison de Rozario won the event with a time of one minute and 52.15 seconds.

The final top 10 for Frotten was yet another seventh-place finish, this time in the women’s 5,000-m T54 final. China’s Lihong Zou won the event with a time of 12 minutes and 12.73 seconds. Canada’s Diane Roy finished fifth in 12 minutes and 16.22 seconds and Frotten’s time was 12 minutes and 17.43 seconds.

Frotten also competed in the women’s 1,500-m T54 event, finishing fifth in her heat, and the universal four by 100-m relay as part of a Canadian team that narrowly missed qualifying for the finals.

The World Championships are typically held earlier in the year and Frotten said this made for a particularly long season.

“It wasn’t the best I’ve ever done,” said Frotten. “It’s been a super long season. Usually our World Championships are kind of in the July, August, September range, but pushing it way out to November made for a pretty long season.”

The 5,000-m final, though, was a race Frotten will remember.

“The 5,000-m was really one of the best races I’ve ever had in my life,” she said. “The 5,000 is a really tactical event – you have to work 30 per cent less if you’re behind someone who is breaking wind, so drafting is a huge advantage.”

The trick, Frotten said, is to draft long enough to conserve energy but also be in position to make a move at the end of the race.

“You need to be in the best position at the end of the race to not be boxed in,” said Frotten. “I was not in the best position at the end of the race, but I’ve only raced probably eight (5,000-m races) in my life – it was the first one at a major championship.”

Frotten said she’s going to take some time off – maybe three weeks, she said – before her attention turns back to training and her goal of making the Canadian team for the 2020 Paralympics.

“I missed out on the Rio team by just a hair on my chinny-chin chin,” said Frotten. “I’m really putting everything I’ve got into making that Canadian team for Tokyo. We have to re-qualify with time standards and that sort of thing, but I’m feeling pretty good about where I am and where I’m ranked in the world.”

The next competition for Frotten will be the Summer Down Under Series in Australia in January.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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