Prospering in a Maritime field of dreams

If you build it they will come.

New Brunswick’s shining new state-of-the-art track and field facility is a revelation to a city, a region and for that matter, all of Canadian sport. The Moncton 2010 Stadium is hosting the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships and proving that the future belongs to those who believe in themselves.

There has been little bickering about the building of this track in this unlikely place and not much quibbling about the investment of $20 million in young Canadians. It’s a different story than that which exists in some of the country’s more populous locales.

This is all about a desire to be a part of the action and to ensure that this place and these people have the same opportunities as the rest of the country. It’s working.

Thousands have come to see the world’s best track and field gods and goddesses, 19 years of age and under. The future stars have responded in kind. Terrific performances have been turned in by Jamaican sprint savant Dexter Lee and his female counterpart, 16-year-old Jodie Williams of Great Britain.

A Canadian long jumper, Tyler Stewart of London, Ont., has produced a bronze medal, Canada’s first at this level since the 2006 championships in Beijing. With a brilliant smile, Stewart hit the perfect chord in his post race interview.

“It’s just an honour to compete in Moncton and in Canada,” Stewart beamed. “This is the best place to win a medal — at home.”

Note that Stewart said at home.

The opportunity that Moncton is offering to Canadian athletes has been working magic in other countries for centuries. It’s the chance to flourish in your own backyard.

Decathlete Jared Heldman of Langley, B.C. scored 10 out of 10 personal bests in the biggest competition of his life.

He’s got the bug and strives to be better.

“I learned I love the decathlon,” Heldman said when it was over. “Now I want to win a gold medal at the Pan American Games.”

Lamine Diack, the elderly president of the IAAF subscribes to what’s happening here. “Our task is to find and develop stars in every country,” he figured. “They will not just fall from the moon.”

No they won’t.

They’ll grow and prosper in a Maritime field of dreams.

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