Sherbrooke’s athletes back on track

By Matthew Sylvester, Special to the Record

After a surprise hiatus lasting through the ever-important early months of summer, activities at the Club Athletisme Sherbrooke seem to be back into full swing with the start of the year’s first competition on Wednesday. Athletes were finally able to take advantage of the university’s new track and field facilities, which were totally overhauled back in May.
An even bigger crowd of runners, jumpers and throwers will be testing their mettle on Saturday during the second competition of the season. This one will be held between 10:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. and is expected to attract athletes from all around the province.
While Wednesday evening’s “twilight” competition wasn’t the first that the club was able to attend, after two that took place in Quebec City earlier this summer, it was the first time club members had the chance to compete on their home turf since 2018. Four of their planned competitions had to be either cancelled or postponed this year, with this week’s events being the only ones Athletisme Sherbrooke has time for before the end of the summer.
“Saturday is already the 15th of August,” said Daniel Quirion, director of competitions for the club. “The Vert et Or football team will be taking up the track in just a couple of weeks.” The pandemic ended up having serious consequences on the schedules of athletics organizations all over the province.
“We get our calendar from the Federation Quebecoise d’Athletisme in February. Since that was before the pandemic, all of our competitions were cancelled,” Quirion explained. The FQA is the official body overseeing all competitions and athletic records in the province. Just last month, the federation reopened time slots for competitions under new strict sanitary guidelines. Attendees will even be warned if anyone who was their meet presents with COVID symptoms after the fact.
The first few months of the pandemic were devastating to the club’s athletes. During an interview with the Record earlier this summer, Athletisme Sherbrooke coach Yoseline Luenens explained the difficulty keeping up training schedules with her athletes during the lockdown. “We weren’t there to adjust the training right away,” she said. Coaches had to make do with watching videos of their athletes to help improve their technique.

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