Jillian Drouin aims to be brother’s teammate

Jillian Drouin would like nothing more than to join her kid brother Derek on the Canadian Pan-American Games team in Toronto next year, and ultimately our 2016 Olympic team in Brazil.

Injuries Jillian sustained killed that dream prior to the 2012 London Games, when brother Derek won Olympic bronze in high jump.

The siblings from Corunna have seldom competed together because of their age difference, the personable 27-year-old told The Journal.

“When I was competing in elementary school, he was too young to compete.  When I was in high school, he was in elementary school, and when I went off the college he was still in high school,” said Drouin. “I would really love to be on the same team as him.”

She’s not envious of her brother’s success, just proud. Derek Drouin has since won bronze at the 2013 World Championships in athletics, and this year cleared 2.40 metres (7 feet 10 inches), becoming just the tenth man in the world to ever clear that height in outdoor competition.

“I love that he’s doing so well because I know that he’s enjoying it so much.”

Her next stepping stone to the goal of wearing the Maple Leaf with Derek is the Canadian Decathlon and Heptathlon Championships in Ottawa, where the Sarnia Athletics Southwest Track and Field Club member will compete this July 17 and 18, in hopes of improving her personal best of 5,890 points.

The Olympic qualifying standard will be 6,100 points and the Pan-Am standard will be about the same, she added.

Primarily a high jumper and long jumper in the past, Drouin graduated from the University of Syracuse, where she attended on a track scholarship. She is concentrating now on the heptathlon as her primary event.

It’s a test of endurance and strength in which an athlete competes in seven different events over two days: the100 metre hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump, javelin throw, 200 metres and 800 metres.

“My shot put has increased this year,” said Drouin.  “But my long jump and javelin been a little rocky.”

She won the Athletics Ontario Combined Event Championships in Toronto in mid-June.

After a busy year in her personal life – she graduated from Toronto Chiropractic College, got married, started a new job, and moved into a new home – she feels her training is just now rounding back into shape. But it hasn’t been without challenges.  Following an unusual numbers of colds and flu this past winter and recurring fatigue, she was diagnosed with celiac disease.  The digestive disorder results in damage to the small intestine when foods with gluten are eaten and makes it difficult to absorb nutrients such as calcium and iron.

A gluten-free diet is the only known cure, she said.

Meantime, Sarnia sprinter Drelan Bramwell has been named to Team Canada for the North America, Central America and Caribbean Under 23 Track and Field Championships in August in Kamloops, B.C.

He will compete in the 200 metres.

– Barry Wright