Photo: Edwin Tam.
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Fifth-year hurdler closes illustrious career with big win in Toronto

Coming off a formidable Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Championships showing two weeks prior, five Gee-Gees athletes qualified and represented the University of Ottawa in the 2016 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Track and Field Championships last week.

They were met by the nation’s best in the sport at York University for the two-day tournament.

Headlining an already strong Gee-Gees team composed of OUA medal-winners and nationally ranked athletes was women’s 60-metre hurdler, Devyani Biswal. Ranked third in the nation and fresh off of an OUA gold medal win, Biswal entered the CIS Championships as a potential favourite on the Gee-Gees side

In her opportunity Biswal didn’t disappoint, as she exceeded the lofty expectations set before her. She finished first in the women’s 60-metre hurdle and earned a gold medal, making Gee-Gees history in the process.

Her 8.40s gold-medal run marked a new school record, and the first ever CIS medal for the Gee-Gees in the women’s 60-metre hurdle.

Biswal’s medal win, courtesy of her all-time performance, would unfortunately be the only taste of CIS glory for the Gee-Gees track athletes. The remaining four had strong performances but failed to qualify for the finals at their respective events.

Scot Hancock finished fourth in the men’s 60-metre hurdle preliminary round, narrowly missing the finals, while Steve Nkusi and Yvan Ntivumbura of men’s high jump each fell short of the 2.10m finals cutoff, finishing fifth and seventh place respectively. Jacob Powrie, the Gee-Gees only representative in the men’s heptathlon, placed eighth with 3,382 points.

The lack of medals won at the CIS Championships—beyond Biswal—comes as a bit of a disappointment for a Gee-Gees team loaded with top-10 nationally ranked talent (Nkusi, Ntivumbura, and Hancock entered the competition ranked sixth, seventh, and ninth in the nation, respectively).

Nevertheless, they represented the U of O admirably. More importantly, the Gee-Gees track and field athletes, led by the nation’s best women’s hurdler in Biswal, represent a squad poised to make a lot of noise next season.