Plenty of sleep helps Saints athlete excel

Brent Bates’ decision to focus on the 400-metre hurdles not only helped him become an all-star on the track but an all-star in the classroom as well.

The 17-year-old Saint was named West Region Athlete of the Year during the 25th annual Town Crier awards banquet at EDO Japanese Fine Dining.

Richview Collegiate’s[/url] track star couldn’t believe he won.

“It’s an honour. I worked really hard towards this,” Bates said. “As my coach was saying earlier a lot of sacrifice has gone into this.”

This season, Bates made the decision to zero in on only a few events instead of participating in the entire decathlon docket.

It was a tough choice but he was glad he made it.

“A lot of it is time, and my coach had a lot to do with it because with high school and trying to get into university meant my studies were really important,” Bates said. “To do the decathlon meant a lot of time and a couple of practices a day for three-and-a-half hours.

“I really just didn’t have the time to focus on 10 events.”

Bates had an unorthodox way of preparing for the challenges of trying to get into university while trying to succeed at a sport.

“Sleep has really helped,” he says. “I think the more sleep you get, it helps.”

Bates said he believes catching more Zs helped him become the elite high school athlete he is.

“You really don’t have a lot of downtime whether you are doing schoolwork or working at a part-time job or training to become a better track athlete,” he said. “Making time for everything has really been a challenge but knowing that I am able to juggle all of this has taught me a lot.”

Through it all his biggest fans were neck-and-neck with him.

“My parents have been really supportive throughout the whole thing,” he said. “It has been really great to have them supporting me.”

The next hurdle to jump: University of Western Ontario. And there will be a slight deviation from the sprints he was running for Richview.

“It will be basically the indoor season and because they don’t have the 400 hurdles it will be preparing for the outdoor season,” he said. “I will be running the in 300- and 600-metre races.”

From there Bates wants to start focusing on making the Canadian National team and qualifying for the Olympics.

“The Olympics are definitely in mind,” he says. “It doesn’t really seem all that real to me right now but I think in the next few years it will definitely be a possibility.”

About this article:

By: Jim Humphrey
Posted: Jul 8 2010 9:23 am
Filed in: Sports
Edition: Toronto