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THE SARNIA OBSERVER
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Stellingwerff runs this week in Delhi

By DAVE PAUL

Stellingwerff, 28, is competing in the women's 1500m in Delhi this week. She says she is also going to update her website with blogs and photos, "as much as possible ... it will really depend on our internet connection." Reached via email late last week, Stellingwerff says she is optimistic that she can contend for a medal in Delhi.

"I'm ranked about eighth in the women's 1500m if you go by season best times, and I think fifth or sixth if you go by personal bests," she says. "My aim is to get in the final and go for a medal because if I run well, it's definitely within reach."

For the past four years, Stellingwerff has lived in Switzerland with her husband Trent (originally from Grand Bend) who works at the Nestle Research Centre in Lausanne as an exercise physiologist in the area of sports nutrition for PowerBar. But she has been back in Canada this year, going to teacher's college at Western.

"I've been volunteering at an international school in Switzerland and absolutely loved it so decided to come back this year and get my teaching degree in primary," she says. "Looking back, I realize what an influence my teachers (I went to St. Mike's, St. Pat's and St. Christopher's) had on me both academically and athletically and I want to have that same positive influence on young people."

"As you get older, you start to realize how much your childhood background and the people in it (teachers, family, friends, community) have had an impact on who you are and what you've accomplished," she adds.
Stellingwerff says she races in "about 10 competitions per year -- usually 800m or 1500m," with the majority of them being in Europe. The IAAF's Diamond League features cash prizes, allowing track and field athletes to earn a living at their sport -- although that means the level of competition is very high," she says.

As one of two track and field athletes on the Athletics Canada board of directors, Stellingwerff " represents the voice of all track and field athletes in Canada, but primarily on the national team."
She is also part of the National Team Committee," which is probably are most significant role," she adds.

"On this committee we represent the athletes' perspectives when it comes to decisions on the national team selection process (Olympics, Worlds, Commonwealth Games, etc.), carding or national funding, and really any other national team athlete issues."

Stellingwerff's ultimate goal is to compete at the 2012 Olympics. When in Canada, she trains at the Univ. of Guelph with Dave Scott-Thomas and while in Switzerland, Trent acts as her coach.

"The set up has worked well and because I come back to Canada to train so often, I still get to see family and friends quite a bit," she says. "But I'm also lucky to have Trent train with me. He's even going to be in Delhi as the head sports nutritionist so I feel really fortunate that our lives overlap and connect so well."

dpaul@theobserver.ca

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