Terrace runner Tyler Dozzi has made U20 worlds in Finland, meeting an impressive 5,000-metre standard that hasn’t been met since 2015.
In the national rankings of all U20 athletes, Dozzi is ranked fourth in the men’s 5,000-metre race with a time two seconds under the 14:15 standard required for the World U20 Championships in the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations).
“There’s competition standards… so you need to hit the standard, and then you also need to be top-two in Canada (to qualify),” Dozzi explained of the track and field championship.
In some events, the hard part is meeting the standard, in others it’s landing top-two.
For Dozzi, it was the standard — with the 5,000 metre requiring a time of 14:15 to qualify.
Meeting that standard at a high performance meet at Oregon State University April 28, was tough.
“I had fallen off pace and I wasn’t feeling very good,” said Dozzi of the race.
“I tried to pick it up slowly but then going into the last lap, I knew I was still off pace and I was going to need to close, something like eight seconds faster than all my other laps.”
But Dozzi had already faced that hurdle in his mind, determining beforehand that he would make the standard whatever it takes.
“I wasn’t going to let that last lap get in the way of me and making the team,” he said. “There’s a lot of mental game there.”
So Dozzi says he nearly full-out sprinted the last 400 metres, and snagged a time of 14:13.34, qualifying him for the world championship.
And since no other athlete under-20 has made the standard since the record-holding Justyn Knight in 2015 (with a time of 13:34.86), Dozzi had basically secured his spot.
“But it was a completely different feeling when the announcement actually came out. It was really exciting,” said Dozzi.
“I had represented Canada earlier this year (at the Pan American Championships in February) but this one definitely felt different. I felt that I had to work a lot harder to make it onto this team,” he said.
Dozzi competes in Tampere, Finland July 10-15, travelling with 32 other Canadian athletes in other track and field events. The Canadian U20 team includes record and medal holders from the Pan American and Commonwealth Youth Games, such as Trinity Tutti, Anastas Eliopolous, Xahria Santiago, Camryn Rogers, Tatiana Aholou.
And extending the experience, Dozzi says after worlds are complete, he and his UBC teammate Charlie Dannatt are flying to Belgium to compete in another race before returning home.
Dozzi says Belgium is seen as a good middle ground place for senior-level athletes in Canada to get more exposure to high-end professional races.
“I’m looking forward to a good atmosphere, a big stadium, lots of excitement at the race,” said Dozzi, adding that his aim is a personal best.
“I know this is something I want to keep doing — racing internationally — and I want to see just what it’s like, and what opportunities I could possibly have in the future.
“So it’s experience but it’s also motivation,” he said.