Personal best lands jumper on national podium
Michael Ivanov can’t stop smiling after winning a bronze medal in the under-18 boys high jump at the recent Legion National Track and Field Championships in Cape Breton, N.S.
“It is a very big thing for me and what surprised me the most was that I was ranked last in the competition,” the 15-year-old Niagara Falls resident said. “I was ranked 17th out of 17 and I was also one of the smallest and skinniest competitors as well so I had a lot to prove at that competition.”
The Niagara Olympic Club member had a personal best jump of 1.88 metres, bettering his old mark by 0.03 metres.
“He jumped a personal best 1.88 to climb up the ranks and steal the bronze medal from some other people,” coach Randy McDougall said.
The Grade 11 student at A.N. Myer Secondary School in Niagara Falls had a simple explanation for his medal-winning leap.
“I was in the zone, I was really focused and I had a lot of fun as well,” said the fifth-place finisher in this past spring’s junior boys division at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships. “I talked to quite a few of my competitors to just get the nerves calmed down.”
He didn’t even realize he had won the bronze medal.
“It was a really exciting moment because I was sitting on the bench beside my friends and there were two jumpers left and I was trying to figure out who came in third,” he said. “I was asking a few of my friends and they told me I did. It took me a while for it to sink in a little bit but once I realized it, I stood up in the middle of the competition and I just started cheering for myself.”
McDougall wasn’t surprised by Ivanov’s performance.
“I saw that coming,” he said. “He has been on the cusp of that PB for a while and he had been just missing it every time. On the right day, he got the mark that he was looking for.”
McDougall attributed the personal best to effort.
“He is a very hard worker and very focused,” he said. “He visualizes a lot of what he is supposed to be doing and then he executes it.”
Ivanov is hoping to execute the vision he has laid out for himself.
“In the next two years, I am going to be focused on receiving scholarships from different universities and maybe the University of Guelph,” he said. “That is what I am thinking right now and I am going to get it by doing a lot of hard work and effort in training and competitions.
“I will be constantly learning from my wins and losses and always moving forward.”
One area he will pay particular attention to is getting physically stronger.
“I will try to be in the weight room almost every day whether it’s doing core exercises or leg exercises. I will be doing different stuff every day.”
Getting stronger physically is crucial to his development as a jumper.
“He has to increase his ability to jump high because his technique is awesome,” McDougall said.
Ivanov is motivated by a number of things.
“It is the potential I see in myself and my friends and family,” he said. “It keeps pushing me to be the best.”
He enjoys being able to jump high.
“I love everything about it,” he said. “You can go into a gym class and dunk a basketball and your friends think it is cool.
“It’s the simple things like that and also how the competition has a lot of respect for me because I can jump high and I am really natural at it.”
He will continue training through the fall and winter working on his conditioning and strength. Up ahead is a big goal he has set for himself.
“My target is to hit the two-metre barrier which is a pretty good height and 13 centimetres above my body height,” he said. “I can’t wait to achieve that and I am doing everything I can now to prepare for that.”
BPSN’s coverage of the track and field season is made possible with the support of the Niagara Olympic Club (https://nocrunners.com).