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Wear nails it -- a record leap in long jump

Grade 11 student sets provincial mark

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ROBYN WEAR was practising for her first long jump attempt at the 2013 Milk Provincial Track and Field Championships, but couldn't quite get her takeoff down.

She was over or behind the board on several practice leaps, but the 16-year-old now holds the provincial long jump record.

Wear's 5.88-metre leap is only two centimetres off the Canadian standard, a mark that would allow her to compete at the international level.

"It was honestly one of the most amazing feelings. I've been off on a calf injury and I thought 'there's no way I can jump' because that's my jumping leg," she said.

But when it was her turn she thought of Diana Stevens, the executive director of Athletics Manitoba who died in a car accident last month, and sprinted for the board.

"I just said 'this is for you Diana.' I hit the board and I was in the air and I wasn't coming down! I was so happy. Right when I hit the board I knew this was going to be a personal best, but I had no idea it would be as far as it was."

Wear surpassed Janna Nikkel's 5.64 -metre record set in 1991.

According to Wear's long jump coach, Alanna Boudreau, there's only room to get better.

"She's had the potential to do that kind of jump for a while now, it's just been a matter of putting things together," Boudreau said. "There's still room to grow, so that's kind of the awesome and scary part about her. You look at that jump and you go 'OK, you just jumped 5.88 and I still have a list of things that we're going to work on when we come back to practice.' "

Originally from Gimli, Wear moved to her aunt and uncle's house in Winnipeg so she could focus on her track and field career. She does skill and strength training four days a week and trains with Winnipeg Optimist Athletics.

The Springs Christian Academy student believes living in Winnipeg is the best way to achieve her dreams.

"I do have a dream to go to the Olympics," she said. "At first it seemed kind of far-fetched -- I mean, a person in Grade nine wanting to make the Olympics -- but now I see how much I've improved."

Wear is steadily improving too. Two years ago in provincials she had a long jump of 4.90 metres. Now she's jumping nearly a metre more.

However, long jump is not her only event. She's competing in the varsity girls multi-event -- 100 metres, 800 metres, shot put and long jump. She finished first in her 100 heat and leads the pack so far.

Wayne McMahon supervises Wear's program and believes it's more than skill and strength that makes her such a well-rounded competitor.

"She's tall and strong, but her best qualities are that she's really committed to doing things, works well, is consistent and has a good attitude. Those things are more important than her natural ability," he said.

The Grade 11 student has received offers from universities, but she is not sure what she will do after graduation. She's considering a health-related field like physiotherapy or nutritionist, and is also considering journalism. If possible, she would like to stay in Winnipeg.

"I'm not sure where I want to run. I kind of want to stay here because home is where the heart is. I've gotten as far as I am here, so I think I can get further here too."

So far, Wear has only jumped once at the provincial championships. Both she and her coaches believe she has the potential to break her new record -- possibly this weekend.

"My spirits are up and my confidence is up. I just need to stay out of the sun and eat properly, get some rest. I think it's more than obtainable because that adrenaline makes you go even further."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 8, 2013 C7

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