Michael AonoYouth Athlete of the Year 2014
“Runner’s take your mark, get set, go!” And “go” Michael Aono did! It has been a breakout year for this humble young North Delta sprinter. With his incredible track times, Michael is currently ranked #1 in the country in his age group in both the 200 and 400 metres, and #2 in the 100 metres. It is no surprise he was selected to represent Canada at the World Youth Track and Field Championships.
Aono’s star began to rise early in the track season as he won a series of races, both indoors and outdoors, setting personal bests in the sprint events from the 60m to the 400m. In April, at a prestigious meet in Bellingham, he set a personal best time of 46.96 for the 400m which moved him up to 6th place in the World youth rankings for the Under 18 division. He later improved this mark at the Harry Jerome Track Classic in June. Against a field of world class athletes, he placed third in a time of 46.79, establishing a new Canadian age group record for this event. This prompted Doug Clement, a well respected Canadian track official, to comment that “Michael is a part of a wave of budding talent that we haven’t seen in a while. Every decade or so we seem to come up with ridiculous talent!”
His season of success continued at the BC High School Track and Field championships when this Seaquam Grade 11 student captured both the 200 and 400 metre titles in convincing style. As a result of these impressive victories, he was recognized as the meet’s top male athlete.
In late June, Michael’s hard work, incredible results and his Canadian rankings, were rewarded when he was selected to represent Canada at the World Youth Championships in Cali, Columbia in July. Racing internationally for the first time, but running with a minor injury, he competed in his specialty the 400m and finished in the top 20 in the world. In his own words it was an “incredible experience”.
Graciously, and with obvious sincerity, Aono insists that his success is a tribute to the efforts of his excellent Integrated Support Team – his coaches, massage therapist, physiotherapists, and chiropractors. He recognizes, and greatly appreciates, the training and support he received from his first coach Charles Ohman and continues to receive from Mary Chewning, his current coach at the Vancouver Thunderbirds.
In a track season where this high school senior established himself as one of Canada’s premier young athletes, Michael Aono is a deserving recipient of the Youth Athlete of the Year.