Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Jasneet Nijjar: Canadian Running Champion

By Harjan Padda, 26 Nov, 2018

    “The Olympic Games were a great experience. I would walk through the dining hall and see people from all over the world, it was a cool experience,” Jasneet recalls.

    Jasneet Nijjar, a highly accomplished and driven young athlete in Surrey, is making waves nationally. She has represented Canada in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics. 
    At the 2018 B.C. high school track and field championships in June, Jasneet won the girls 100m, 200m and 400m sprints for a rare triple crown. Only two others have matched this feat ever since this competition started just over 50 years ago. She is also the Canadian junior national champion at the 200m. Jasneet finished 14th at the Summer Youth Olympic Games at the 400m sprint. This was not a podium finish but it was tremendous for her development. 
    Her coach Jessie Dosanjh mentioned that “she is always used to winning here but going to the Games she was able to see the tougher competitions. Now she sees the challenge ahead of her and can set her sights on improving her craft.”
    Aside from her performance on the track, Jasneet revels in her experience just being a part of this major competition. “The Olympic Games were a great experience. I would walk through the dining hall and see people from all over the world, it was a cool experience,” she recalls. The young sprinter also thoroughly enjoyed taking in the other events of the games. Nijjar notes that “being able to watch all the different competitions going on was great too. All my local competitions only involved track and field but here we could see other sports like diving or gymnastics.” 
    Jasneet joined the Universal Athletics Club 10 years ago in the Rascals division and has been with the organization ever since. The Universal Athletics Club has some of the province’s fastest male and female track athletes. The running champion is also serving a mentorship role as a coach for the club. She conducts weekly training sessions with the Rascals group as a way to give back to the community and the organization. “I love coaching, it has been a lot of fun and I really enjoy this opportunity to help these kids develop their talents,” says Jasneet.
    This past June, Jasneet’s intensive training paid off as she pulled off a historic feat of winning the 100m, 200m and 400m women’s sprints. She describes how she “was so close to winning the 100m, it really pushed me to go for all three races this year. I was not going to end this year without winning those three medals.” 
    In her athletic history, Jasneet has also won many hurdles and jumps competitions on top of her sprinting accomplishments. The next plan for her on the field is to train for the heptathlon. Given her prior success in more than just sprinting, this could be an excellent route for her to pursue. She certainly has all the physical and mental tools to be successful. Dosanjh is confident that Jasneet can easily continue her dominance at the provincial level. “Her dedication to the sport and commitment she makes towards training and getting better can’t be beat. The sky is the limit for her and we know she will do big things on an international level.”
    When asked about her future, Jasneet is optimistic and knows she has options. She understands that “there are more opportunities in the United States, they also have more funding and support for their athletes. But for now, I am just focusing on my studies this year.” The bright student is also the president of her student council at Queen Elizabeth Secondary and aspires to study kinesiology ahead.
    Jasneet is one of Canada’s most auspicious young athletes with the potential to make waves felt around the world. She is another youth in the South Asian community who has shown the value of hard work and commitment. She is an inspiration for Indo-Canadians, especially for Indo-Canadian women who may feel like they will not be appreciated in sport. Jasneet’s success and passion is proof that sports is for both men and women and for people of all ethnic backgrounds. Her future is bright, and nothing can stop her from being the best.