Bishop_FlashVictoria2015© Copyright – 2016 – Athletics Illustrated

Watching Melissa Bishop race the Athlone International indoor meet on Wednesday in Athlone, Ireland, it appeared that she was confident that she could take the Canadian record of 2:00.66 that was set back in 2003 by Victoria’s Diane Cummins. Taking the record appeared to be her plan.

Asked if she was racing specifically for the record Bishop told Athletics Illustrated, “Yes, we were specifically looking at the record,” said the Eganville, Ontario resident. “Both Dennis (Coach Dennis Fairall) and I were thinking that my fitness right now is in and around that area. With that in mind I went after it.”

Fairall is the long-time coach of the University of Windsor Lancers team – 30 years, Bishop’s alma mater. He has been her coach for eight of them, starting with her first year on the team.  During his time there he has coached the Lancers to 25 Canadian Interuniversity Sport Championship titles. Under Fairall, Bishop has taken both the indoor and outdoor national records for the 800-metre event as well as earning an IAAF World Track and Field Championships silver medal.

Considering she did not have the competition one would typically need to be pushed, focussing on splits would be important for a record-breaking performance. Asked if the result was due to confidence in her fitness or was it about execution, Bishop said, “The result is probably a combination of both. We didn’t have an indoor season due to injury last year, but yes the fitness is good now and racing to the record was also about the right execution.”

Bishop will be competing in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. After her 2015 IAAF World Championships performance where she not only won that silver medal, she also broke the national record and became the first Canadian to crack the 1:58 barrier with her 1:57.52, she will be one of several Canadian athletes to watch at this summer’s games.