An Airdrie throws athlete set a new provincial record Sept. 27 and has the national record in her sights.
Bert Church High School senior Jinaye Shomachuk, 16, set the U18 women’s three-kilogram hammer throw record for Alberta with a distance of 62.53 metres (m). The record-setting distance was a new personal best (PB) for the throws specialist, who is ranked first in Canada for the U18 women’s hammer throw and second in discus.
“It was nice,” said Shomachuk, who competes for Calgary Track and Field (CALTAF) Athletic Association. “I wouldn’t say I was hoping more for the provincial record as I was a PB. I know my PB is the provincial record, but it’s always nice to PB – especially because it’s been more than a year since I’ve done so.”
Shomachuk’s new PB is just 2.63 m short of the U18 women’s national hammer throw record set by Camryn Rogers, who recorded a distance of 65.16 m in 2015.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 track season has been modified. Instead of her usual hectic travel and competition schedule, Shomachuk was limited to just three competitions this year, with each meet taking place in Calgary and involving other CALTAF throws athletes.
Sadly, that meant Shomachuk missed out on the opportunity to earn redemption after a poor showing in the hammer throw – her best event – at the 2019 Youth Legion National Track and Field Championships, where she finished seventh.
“After how nationals ended last year, I was a little disappointed – I threw 12 m under my PB in hammer, so it was really unfortunate I didn’t have that chance to have that redemption or another shot at it,” she said. “But it is what it is. I’m still incredibly happy to get these three small meets before I have to eventually move up a weight category, as I can’t throw this weight anymore.”
The season also saw Shomachuk change clubs. After the Airdrie Aces Track Club folded earlier this year, the Olympic hopeful joined CALTAF. She said one benefit of joining the Calgary club has been the tutelage of multi-sport coach Kim Cousins, who joined her usual coach Rachel Andres.
“She’s been really helpful, really nice and very uplifting,” Shomachuk said. “I think the atmosphere, the training and the technical stuff she has to offer is really helpful.”
According to her bio on CALTAF.com, Cousins has trained bobsled and skeleton athletes for the 2002, 2006 and 2014 Winter Olympics. She also coached throws athletes Jennifer Brown and Alister McQueen at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where McQueen won a silver medal in javelin.
Cousins said Shomachuk has the potential to represent Team Canada in the future – hopefully at an Olympic Games. She added one of her strengths as a throws athlete is her commitment to work both in and outside the throwing ring.
"She has the ability and she seems to have the internal motivation to keep working at her craft," Cousins said. "Although she’s number 1 in Canada, we really do think about athletes around the world. It’s awesome she’s number 1 in Canada, without question, but it’s really about how good we can get her technique, how good we can get the stuff in the circle so it does actually produce the distances we need to see at the Olympic standard."
Shomachuk is now in Grade 12, which means she’ll be on the recruitment radar of many university track and field programs this year.
“Grade 12 is a very important year,” she said, adding her priority is to continue balancing her track and field development with her academics.
“I’m hoping to go into a very academic bachelor’s program when I go to university, so I’m hoping to stay on the honour roll,” she said.