Jessica Frotten busted loose last week at the Canadian Track and Field Championships, earning three golds and a silver in wheelchair racing.
Frotten – born and raised in Whitehorse – earned gold last Friday in the 800-metre. She finished with gold Thursday in the 400-metre and silver in the
Last Wednesday, she opened her week at national championships in Ottawa with a gold in the 5,000- metre distance race
“You really tore it up Jessica.”
“That was the plan,” she responded in an interview with the Star Monday from Quebec City where she was hanging out and training with friends in advance of a race today and another race Friday in Montreal.
“It’s pretty exciting actually,” she said of last week’s success. “There was some very strong racers I was up against.”
She emphasized how the 800-metre on Friday was literally a photo finish, with just a fraction of a hundredth of a second separating her gold from the silver by Dutch paralympian Margriet Van Den Broek of the Netherlands.
In the 5,000-metre to open the championships, Frotten crossed the line in 12 minutes, 33 seconds and 447 one hundredths, or less than two seconds ahead of silver medalist Van Den Broek and bronze medalist and paralympian Diane Roy of Sherbrooke, Que.
“It was way too hot,” Frotten recalled of the heat wave that hit eastern Canada last week. “It was like 40 degrees.”
In Friday’s 1,500-metre, Frotten finished with a silver in a time of 3:53:99, or 19 one hundredths of a second behind Roy.
Frotten established the national record in the T-53 wheelchair category for the 800-metre in May, with a time of 1:52:67. She’s also ranked number one in the nation for the 1,500 in the T-53 category.
A member of the national team, Frotten said she didn’t race in the 100- or 200-metre sprints last week because these days she’s focussed on the longer races.
They’re more involved, they’re more tactical, she said.
Frotten lives and trains in Regina, under the guidance of national wheelchair coach Rick Reelie.
With her competitive season over, Frotten is coming home to visit family, she said.
The 30-year-old was among four Yukon athletes who were awarded funding last week from the Yukon government as elite athletes, along with Olympic
cross-country skier Dahria Beatty, cross-country skier Graham Nishikawa, and biathlon athlete Nadia Moser.
Nishikawa is a guide for paralympian Brian McKeever, a visually- impaired cross-country skier who is Canada’s most decorated winter paralympian.
Frotten is still very much determined to be in Tokyo for the 2020 Summer Olympics, and she also wants to get more involved in road racing.
She’s hoping to do the Chicago marathon this October, as the world-renowned race is a magnet for top wheelchair athletes.
A veteran of the 2015 and 2017 World Championships in Athletics, she’s planning to be in Doha, Qatar, for the 2019 Worlds.
Frotten is candid when she describes how she was feeling down following her crash last April in the 1,500 at the Commonwealth Games hosted by Australia.
Injuries sustained in the incident forced her to withdraw from the marathon event.
She’s back to feeling much better now.
“I was pretty down, but when you have really good races like that, it means I am right on track,” she said of her success in Ottawa last week.