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New West athlete soars in high jump at high school championships

Levi Tuura set to compete in nationals in high jump after achieving personal best at high school championships

A New Westminster Secondary School student soared to great heights at the recent B.C. High School Track and Field Championships.

Grade 11 student Levi Tuura placed first in the high jump, with a jump of 2.07 metres – topping his previous personal best of two metres. His closest competitor jumped 1.95 metres.

“It was crazy. I popped off right away. The crowd was going crazy too,” he said. “It was one of the greatest feelings.”

Tuura, who just turned 17, was the only Grade 11 student in the high jump’s Senior division, which includes Grade 11 and 12 students. The championships were held at McLeod Field in Langley.

With two seasons cancelled by COVID, Tuura was thrilled that the NWSS track and field team had a chance to compete this year.

“Last year, all we really had was just one meet but this year we had practices and multiple meets leading up to provincials,” he said. “My season was really good. I qualified for high jump, shot put and javelin for provincials, and at provincials I only competed in shot put and high jump – just to save my knee for high jump. It was really fun.”

A member of the Kajaks Track and Field Club, Tuura been selected to be on Team BC. He’ll return to McLeod Field on June 26 to compete in high jump in the U20 Canadian Track and Field Championships – his first time competing at the nationals.

“I am really excited,” he said. “Since it is U20, there is not really too much pressure on me because my actual proper nationals is at the end of the summer. So I can just go into it and take the experience and be part of Team BC and just enjoy the ride.”

Tuura will compete in the U18 nationals in Quebec in August, but because he met the U20 standard he’s able to compete in the older age group as well.

“It is going to be super exciting,” he said. “That’s a new experience.”

Tuura started doing track and field when he was 10, after he stopped playing lacrosse. He had been training with Royal City Track and Field Club until May 2021, when he moved to the Richmond-based Kayjaks club.

“The head high jump coach reached out to me. He is one of the best coaches in Canada for high jump, or is the best coach in Canada for high jump. I just couldn’t not take the opportunity to go there and train with all these great high jumpers and great athletes,” Tuura said. “It’s been a really positive experience. These jumpers are jumping 2.20, which is a huge jump and is close to international levels. It was a great experience joining them, and I am really happy I did. It really took me to the next level.”

Karla Winters, Levi’s mom, said there was no animosity behind his decision to leave the local club – only opportunity. She said her son was drawn to the high jump from the time he got involved in track and field.

“Levi probably doesn’t remember, but one of the very first track meets that we ever went to, Levi had never high jumped, he was there doing his run, jump and throw that you do when you are a little kid, and he saw the high jumping, and he said to me, ‘I want to do that,’” she recalled. “I was like, ‘Well, you don’t know how to do it.’ He said, ‘I don’t care.’ So we registered him and he went and he hurled himself over the bar. But he watched and he learned, and he got coaching.  And now, we are here.”

Tuura was a “multi” athlete before he decided to focus on high jump.

“When you start track you are doing, really, every event just to find your footing,” he said. “High jump was really the one that stood out to me. I did multi, so I did every event, but high jump was always my best and my favourite event. There’s just something about the feeling in the air.”

Follow Theresa McManus on Twitter @TheresaMcManus