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Melissa Bishop-Nriagu will be competing in two more meets Sunday May, 9 and Saturday May, 15 before heading home to Windsor, ON.
She qualified for the Tokyo Olympic Games on Sunday, May 2nd with her first sub-two-minute 800m performance since becoming a mother in summer 2018. She won the race at the Chula Vista High Performance Meet #3 in San Diego, CA, clocking a 1:59.04. It is a big leap forward from her 2:02.51 performance at the University of Victoria on March 27.
“We’re really happy with the performance; we knew it was there based on past months of work. It’s just a matter of putting everything together at once. It does take time to get into that pace again, probably a few races I’d say. It’s not unusual, this is certainly a seasonal progression as with last years,” shared Bishop-Nriagu.
The 32-year-old headed to Victoria, BC to be in milder climates during the Canadian winter, due to the lack of access to the U.S. during the pandemic as well as to be near her coach Trent Stellingwerff who works for Canadian Sport Institute Pacific. The speed didn’t appear to be coming around until Sunday in Chula Vista.
“The only difference is the time of year – we’ve had to perform early given race availability, quarantines, and planning purposes.”
She is looking forward to dropping her time a little during the next two meets, “they should be good events.”
Based on her four-second win on Sunday, if challenged, she should continue to improve over the next two weekends.
Bishop-Nriagu was the third Canadian to break the two-minute barrier after Charmaine Crooks (1:58.52) and Diane Cummins (1:58.39). She has run below the benchmark 25 times. Her personal best is a 1:57.01, which she ran in Monaco at the Diamond League meet in 2017. It stands as the current national record. She has also run a 1:57.02, which she achieved finishing fourth during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. The Tokyo Olympic qualifying time is 1:59.50.
The Eganville, ON native, has a silver medal from the 2015 Beijing World Athletics Championships and a Pan American Games gold medal from Toronto 2015.