Shrugging off an injury, Cowichan Bay’s Siôn Griffiths won a silver medal in javelin at the Legion National Youth Track and Field Championships in Sainte-Thérèse, Que. earlier this month.
Griffiths threw the javelin 54.71m to take second place at the elite competition.
“I was pretty happy with it,” Griffiths said. “The week before nationals, I injured my knee and my [throwing] elbow and took a week off training, so 54 was good for me.”
Griffiths missed his personal best of 57.01m, which he set at this year’s provincial championships, but even that mark wouldn’t have earned him the gold medal as the top finisher, Ontario’s Timothy Hatton, threw an astonishing 61.57m on his first attempt at Legions.
“He was the second thrower out of 24, so after seeing him throw, we were like, ‘now we’re competing for second place,’” Griffiths recalled.
The third-place thrower was a metre back of Griffiths at 53.70m.
“Going into the fourth attempt, four of us had thrown 53, so we were competing to decide third and second.”
Hatton is a second-year youth competitor, while Griffiths is in his first year at that level, so Griffiths is a likely favourite to win gold next year. Although he also plays soccer and rugby, he is training specifically for track and field, with a focus on the throwing events.
“My concentration is track right now,” he said. “Next year is the World Youth Championships, so I’m trying to get there.”
To make the worlds in javelin, Griffiths will have to meet a standard of 65m, something he figures he’ll hit with a few more months of training.
“By next year, I should be able to,” he said.
Griffiths has been throwing the javelin with the Cowichan Valley Athletic Club Jaguars since he was 12.
“When I joined CVACs, seeing people throwing the javelin was pretty interesting,” he recalled. “I was pretty good at it when I was 12, and I got better when I got [throwing-specific] coaching from Victoria and Nanaimo.”
Griffiths credits Victoria-based coaches Sheldan Gmitroski and Laurie Willett with much of his success. He still competes with the CVACs, and helped coach that club’s up-and-coming young throwers this year.
Entering Grade 11 at Brentwood College School, Griffiths is at the point where he needs to think about his future in the sport.
“I’d like to get a scholarship for track somewhere,” he said. “I haven’t given a lot of thought to what’s coming after high school. This year will be all about figuring out where I’ll go next.”