Commonwealth track team heavy with Olympians

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:32 PM ET

Fifteen Olympians will lead the Canadian track and field team at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Athletics Canada announced Tuesday a team of 40 athletes, more than half of whom are veterans of the Beijing Olympics, the 2008 Paralympics or previous Commonwealth Games, that it will be sending under Canadian colours to Delhi, India in October.

Many of those heading to the Commonwealth Games will be nurtured for the 2012 Olympics in London. But they must prove their worth in Delhi first, according to head coach Alex Gardiner.

"At the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, we expect all athletes to perform at their highest level for this year," Gardiner said. "We are using the Commonwealth Games as an important benchmark for those athletes pursuing selection for the London Olympic Games. Results in Delhi will have a direct bearing on who we provide additional support for in the next two years leading to 2012.

"All athletes will have to prove readiness in September before we go to India or risk de-selection."

Veteran Edmonton hurdler Angela Whyte, who competed in Beijing and has two previous Commonwealth Games on her resume, is one of a number of Canadians who should be medal contenders. Wheelchair athlete Diane Roy of Sherbrooke, Que. and heptathlete Jessica Zelinka of Calgary should also contend for a spot on the podium along with shot putter Dylan Armstrong of Kamloops, B.C.

Whyte won silver in the 100-metre hurdles in 2006, Roy was the bronze medalist in the 800m wheelchair and Zelinka was fifth in Beijing.

Armstrong finished fourth at the 2008 Olympics with a Canadian record throw of 21.04 metres and duplicated the feat at the world indoor championships this year. He has also improved his Canadian outdoor record to 21.58m while adding the indoor record of 21.39m.

Canada won 13 medals in track and field at the 2006 Games in Melbourne, Australia.

Track and field events get under way in Delhi Oct. 6.


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