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New West-born hammer thrower heaves a 2023 Pan-Am bronze

Kaila Butler's best throw was enough to land her a spot on the Santiago 2023 podium.
Kaila Butler, born in New West and raised in Port Coquitlam, won bronze in women's hammer throw for Canada at the 2023 Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile.

Another New Westminster-born athlete has picked up a medal at the 2023 Pan American Games.

Kaila Butler claimed bronze for Canada on Thursday, Nov. 2, in women's hammer throw, winning her first medal in her first appearance at the continental competition in Santiago, Chile.

Despite the cold, rainy conditions, the 25-year-old's fifth heave saw the ball and chain sail 65.10 metres from the circle, which was just enough to reach the podium.

The bronze is also Butler's first-ever international medal in just her third career appearance with Canada's national athletics team.

"I'm just really really proud of myself for battling back and for having the performance that I could have when it mattered. It's really really special," said Butler in a video on social media following the contest.

"My parents are here, and so I got to see them standing up in the crowd cheering and waving the Canadian flag. It was really a wonderful feeling to feel the love."

Butler was more than seven metres short of a gold medal and over six metres from silver, won by Deanna Price (USA) and Rosa Andreina Rodriguez (Venezuela) respectively.

Butler successfully recorded three throws on six attempts. Her other two best hammer throws landed at 64.01 metres in the sixth round and 63.22 in round three.

In May 2022, Butler set her personal best throw of 69.35 metres while competing for Bowling Green University at the Len Paddock Open during the NCAA season.

Butler is currently a resident of Port Coquitlam, graduating from Terry Fox Secondary in 2016.

She's now the second New West-born athlete to win a medal at this year's Pan American Games.

Sydney Turner also landed bronze with Canada's women's artistic gymnastics squad in the team event on Oct. 22.

The other three New West athletes in Chile are field hockey midfielder Brenden Bissett, rugby sevens player Caroline Crossley and long-distance runner Addy Townsend.