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Archive for Saturday, July 20, 2002

Former Kansas All-American to participate in Commonwealth Games

July 20, 2002

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Scott Russell won the NCAA javelin title in late May.

He claimed the Canadian national outdoor crown at the end of June.

Now Russell, a five-time All-American from Kansas University, prepares to step onto the international stage as one of 42 athletes representing Canada at the 2002 Commonwealth Games, slated for the end of July in Manchester, England.

"I'm definitely looking forward to the meet. I hope I can go to some other big ones, too," said the 23-year-old recent KU graduate.

Russell threw 218 feet at the NCAA meet and 251 feet at Canadian nationals, well under his personal best mark of 267-11 set at last year's World Championships in Edmonton, Canada.

"All year long, we've been pushing for the Commonwealth Games," said Russell, speaking for himself and KU throws coach Doug Reynolds.

"I wouldn't have complained if my personal best came at NCAAs. That meet was a big concern, going there and throwing well and winning. But we wanted to come out into my summer season and hopefully throw my personal best at the Commonwealth Games. If I can do that, I can place high, maybe in the top five."

The 6-foot-9, 290-pounder from Windsor, Ontario, who says he's had some monster throws at practice of late, leaves Sunday for England to get settled into the athletes' village at the Games.

The javelin preliminaries are July 30 and finals the 31st.

"This is the second-biggest meet I've competed in," said Russell, who placed 13th at last summer's World Championships in Canada. "This is missing some of the big players like U.S., Russia and Cuba. You might call it a mini-Olympics."

Russell recently hired an agent  John Nubani  who will try to assure him a shoe contract and perhaps some guarantee money for international meets. Russell will continue to train on KU's campus next year with Reynolds as he gears for the 2004 Olympics in Greece.

"He represents a few of the bigger throwers like (former Olympian) Kevin Toth," Russell said of Nubani. "He will try to get me in a few meets in Europe, anywhere between Aug. 13 and Sept. 1. I will try to go over there and get some experience of being in Europe competing back to back to back.

"The javelin is not a Grand Prix event this year. Next year all throwing events are Grand Prix. I still don't think the throwing events are like the sprints. In the U.S., sprints are played up a lot better than the throws," Russell noted. "Our distances are increasing in the throws, but we don't get the recognition compared to the sprinters."

Russell knows the recognition will come for him if he makes a splash internationally.

His best finishes are fourth at the Junior Pan Am Games and fifth and the World Junior Games, to go with 13th at last summer's World Championships.

"I've not gone and won an Olympic gold medal or any medal in a major competition. Hopefully that will come soon," he said.

Assistant sports editor Gary Bedore can be reached at 832-7186.

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