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Local 15-year-old takes up hurdles. Four months later, she's winning medals

Abby Weening's mom says she's just 'one of those kids' who seems able to excel at any sport she's in

Fifteen-year-old Abby Weening was picked for Team Ontario East in the Summer Games, competing in hurdles and high jump.

She placed third in the 80 metre hurdles, fourth in 200 metre hurdles, and helped her team to win gold in London, Ontario, Aug. 2-5.

Not bad for someone who only started training in hurdles four months ago.

“Abby is one of those kids, no matter what sport she’s in, she excels,” said mom Kristin.

Abby herself says she had competed in track and field in elementary school, and plays both basketball and volleyball at school. It was only when she entered Joan of Arc High School in Barrie that she stepped it up a notch.

Her older sister Chloe was being coached in track and field by Joe Denes, former Decathlete and Olympic bobsled competitor turned high school coach. She went along to a practice, and was spotted by Denes as having natural ability.

“He started training me,” said Abby. “He saw I was good at hurdles.”

It’s not something everyone can do. It takes speed, co-ordination and timing – and the ability to both run and jump. Coach Denes began training Abby in both hurdling and high jump. Within just a few months, she was participating in school meets and qualified for the Georgian Bay Secondary School Association (GBSSA) athletic competition. 

She did well enough to go on to OFSAA (Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations) All-Ontario competition in track and field. “That was tough. After the GBs, there were a lot faster people,” said Abby. She was up against the best in the province. 

She didn’t win, but her times were good enough to let her qualify for the Summer Games, where she brought back a Team Gold medal and set a personal best.

BradfordToday caught up with Abby at the Spoke O’Motion mountain bike series, held at Coulson’s Hill County Forest in Bradford West Gwillimbury every Wednesday evening. 

Cycling is another passion for the young athlete. She’s been mountain biking for over five years, attending the Spoke O’Motion meets with dad Jon and other members of the family, including proud grandparents Sandie and Al Muma – where she competes as hard in cycling as she does in track and field.

“It’s fun to ride your bike and have races,” said Abby. “You make a lot of friends doing it.”

Track and field is done for the summer. Abby will be participating in indoor meets in the fall, “and then it’s going to be back to school,” she said.

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Miriam King

About the Author: Miriam King

Miriam King is a journalist and photographer with Bradford Today, covering news and events in Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil.
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