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Cover Story

COVERSTORY - Jasneet Nijjar: One Track Goal in Mind

By Petrina D’Souza, 30 Jan, 2019

    “This sport has been in my family for quite a bit of time now, it started off with my eldest sister and has been passed down ever since.”



    A South Asian athlete shining bright among BC’s young and upcoming sprinters is 18-year old Jasneet Nijjar. Through her remarkable achievements in 2018, Jasneet has made her mark in the sport and is one of the promising sprinters to watch out for in the coming years. Last year, the running champion represented Canada at two major competitions: the U18 Jamaican Invitational  in Kingston, Jamaica, and the Summer Youth Olympic Games held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is also the Canadian junior national champion in the 200 metre category, having won Gold at the 2018 Canadian Junior Track and Field Championships held in Ottawa. Another accomplishment was Jasneet’s triple win – gold in the girls 100 metre, 200 metre and 400 metre races – at the BC High School Track and Field Championships held in June.

    Jasneet was one of five Surrey athletes chosen to represent Canada at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games. She ran the 400 metre sprint and finished 14th in the race. For a first-time Olympic Games participant, this experience of competing with top athletes from various countries was a big milestone in itself. “The Olympic Games were a great experience,” shares Jasneet who thoroughly enjoyed taking in the other events of the games. “Being able to watch all the different competitions going on was great too. All my local competitions only involved track and field but here we could see other sports like diving or gymnastics.” 

    The Queen Elizabeth Secondary School student is part of the Universal Athletics Club in Surrey, that she joined 10 years ago in the Rascals division. Jasneet’s interest in sprinting started young. “This sport has been in my family for quite a bit of time now, it started off with my eldest sister and has been passed down ever since,” the passionate runner states, revealing further that her role models are her sisters. Being the best is not easy; Jasneet follows a disciplined schedule that includes attending school, extracurricular activities, and daily practise for hours. “It isn’t easy balancing everything but this is something I have to do in order to achieve and accomplish my goals,” adds Jasneet.

    It goes without saying that Jasneet’s intensive training has borne fruit and her historic win in the 100 metre, 200 metre and 400 metre races at the BC High School Track and Field Championships is testimony to this fact. Remembering those moments, Jasneet describes how she “was so close to winning the 100m, it really pushed me to go for all three races this year. I was not going to end this year without winning those three medals.” A memorable moment for Jasneet was winning Gold at the 2018 Canadian Junior Track and Field Championships. She explains that this win was quite important to her “because at these nationals, I was competing against ages 18 and above, so winning the 200m against girls who are older than me means a lot.”

    Coach Jesse Dosanjh is proud of Jasneet’s achievements and confident that she will have many significant victories in the near future. “Her dedication to the sport and commitment she makes towards training and getting better can’t be beat. The sky is the limit for her and we know she will do big things on an international level.”

    Beyond her devotion to the sport, Jasneet also plays a mentorship role at the club. She conducts weekly training sessions with the Rascals group. “I enjoy coaching a lot, it is a great way to share my skills and knowledge with the young kids,” says the young coach.

    After high school, Jasneet will be attending Washington State University to study Kinesiology and be part of the university’s track and field roster. The national sportsstar’s track ahead is clear, with one constant goal in mind – “represent Canada.”

    Your advice for those who wish to follow your path:

    If you are motivated and determined to achieve, anything is possible. Have a dream. Set goals and just go for it. 

    What do your past achievements mean to you?

    This is just the beginning and thinking about what I have accomplished so far makes me want to do more. This honour will always be a motivation for me to keep doing what I love. 

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