OLDS — Local discus thrower and track and field coach Rachel Andres is setting her sights on 2024 and 2028 after failing to qualify for this summer’s Olympic Games.
The 2021 Games take place July 23-Aug. 8 in Toyko.
Instead, Andres plans to focus on helping young athletes she coaches hone their skills.
Competing in the Olympics has been a dream for her since she was at least nine years old.
Andres had a frustrating spring where opportunities to qualify were hampered by injuries, COVID-19 restrictions and poor weather.
She had two last chances: the Nationals, held June 27 in Montreal and a last chance meet, held June 29 in Calgary.
"Nationals did not go well. Worst meet I’ve had since 2008 actually," she wrote in an email.
She ended up in third place with a throw of 54.76 metres (m), well short of her personal best of 58.78 m.
“The mental and physical stress of not being allowed to compete all throughout May really got to me," she wrote. “My competitions in June did not go well at all in general.”
She came back from Montreal on June 28 and tried one last to at least make the 63.50 m auto-standard during the last chance meet the next day.
“I hit what would’ve been the auto standard in warmups but was not able to get it in the meet where it counted,” she wrote.
Despite those setbacks, the season continues for Andres.
She intends to compete in meets from now into the beginning of August.
“I intend to finish the season out strong and get back what was lost in May with the lockdown. I have a lot more distance in me and want to actually get it out there in competition,” she wrote.
Andres, 34, is now focusing on qualifying for the 2024 and 2028 Summer Olympics.
“(I’m) taking it one year at a time,” she wrote. “There are Worlds next year and Commonwealth Games.”
After that there are the Pan Am Games.
“Worlds will have the same qualifying standard as the Olympics and the qualifying period for Worlds has started. Commonwealth Games and Pan Ams typically have easier standards, but Canada has not announced those yet," she wrote.
In the meantime, she plans to coach young throwing athletes in Olds and area.
“One of my athletes, Mohamed Asiff, got second in the shotput at Nationals with a new personal best of 17.17m. And with Nationals being by invite only, he had been happy to just get invited,” she wrote.
She is also continuing to work with Adam Jorgenson, who was ranked number 2 in Canada for discus and number 5 for shot put earlier this spring. Before that, he was ranked number 1 among discus throwers under 18.
“The May shutdown messed with him too, so he may not compete again this year. But he plans to continue to practice and train with me," she wrote.
Another young athlete, Ethan Johnstone has also joined the group.
“He is enjoying learning the sport and hopes to compete at one or two competitions this year in our late season,” she wrote.