Oceanside Track and Field athlete Dezzy Desvaux literally walks the walk.
The Ballenas Secondary Grade 8 student took home a gold medal in the 1,500-metre race walking event at the recent BC Athletics Provincial Championships in Nanaimo.
The milestone caps a wonderful season for the Desvaux, whose achievements included smashing last season’s personal best by nearly 90 seconds, breaking 10 minutes for the first time (9:55).
Desvaux’s time and gold-winning performance would put her in contention for selection to represent British Columbia at the Legion National Youth Track and Field as the BC Athletics standard time in 1,500m walk is 12 minutes. But because she’s only 14 years old, she’s not eligible to compete at the nationals.
The young athlete is using her success this season as motivation to improve more her athletic skills and be able to compete at the nationals next year.
Earlier in the season, Desvaux found out there was no 1,500m race walk for Grade 8s in B.C. Secondary Schools, so she entered the Grade 9 and 10 junior category and placed second at the Island Championships in Victoria. Desvaux’s time that day would have also qualified for the senior girls (Grades 11-12) at provincials.
There was heartbreak for Desvaux at the provincials, when judges disqualified more than one-third of the 26 entries on technicalities of form. On that day, Desvaux would have finished fourth in a time of 9:15.
Race walk is one of the most technical events in track and field with judges on each corner of the track looking at breaks in form, ensuring one foot is always on the ground and the knee is straight when touching the ground. Such are the technicalities of race walk that one break of form in the last 100 metres is an instant disqualification. This also applies in the 50 km Olympics Race Walk where someone could be disqualified after nearly four hours of competing.
Desvaux first tried race walking four years ago with Oceanside Track and Field Club. Their junior development program offers athletes an opportunity to try all events to discover what they love.
Desvaux was thankful for the coaching from Ballenas graduate and last year’s high school senior champion Sam Morrison, plus additional training from Jane Waite and Kim Longmuir. They are also grateful to Ballenas teacher Mary Ann Morrison, who spent countless hours managing the Ballenas track team over the season.