Ethan Foster said he took up the decathlon because while he wasn’t the fastest, he was “OK” at everything. The D.W. Poppy student now holds multiple records. Courtesy Senaka Suriya

Looking for the perfect jump

B.C. athlete considered likely to set a Canadian record in the pole vault

D.W. Poppy school track coach Senaka Suriya recalls the moment, a few years ago, when he saw group of young boys, Grade 7 and 8 students in their early teens, doing what young boys often do, goofing off during a slow moment on the Langley school training field.

Except for one determined kid, who stood out because he was still working out, practicing his skills without anyone pushing him.

“I thought, ‘hmm, interesting,’” Suriya said.

That was the first time Suriya noticed Ethan Foster.

Since then, the coach says Foster’s work ethic has never wavered.

“He puts in a lot of extra hours,” Suriya said.

Foster comes by it honestly, Suriya discovered.

His father, Scott Foster is founder and head coach of the BC Flyers Athletics Club, which is where Ethan does the bulk of his training.

Scott, a former SFU track athlete, has been responsible for Ethan’s track and field development ever since Ethan’s childhood, Suriya said.

“I feel that we have benefited from the hard work and dedication of Scott,” Suriya told The Times.

Ethan Foster said he likes to focus on fixing technical flaws, looking for ways to adjust his already effective technique to boost his performance.

“I can always work on (improving) technique,” Foster said.

Suriya said it was that ego-free approach that has produced a long string of victories and shattered records that, this weekend saw Foster take gold again despite poor weather conditions.

It was a heavy rain day at the Coquitlam Cheetahs’ 2018 Jesse Bent Invitational Meet on June 9.

“We even had hail,” Suriya said.

Suriya said the athletes agreed to jump anyway, because many had made long trips to compete .

Next up, the 39th Annual Pacific Invitational meet in Langley on Saturday, June 16.

Foster described the pole vault a search for the “perfect jump” when everything comes together and he soars higher than anyone, clearing a bar set almost two storeys high.

He said he switched to the decathlon from the long jump because he “wasn’t getting the results I wanted.”

Foster was one of the top three long jumpers in his category, but that wasn’t quite good enough.

“I wasn’t the fastest,” Foster said.

“I thought, I’m okay at everything, so I’d try (the) decathlon,” Foster said.

The events in the decathlon, usually held over two days, include the 100 metres, Long jump, Shot put, High jump, 400 metres, 110 metres hurdles, Discus throw, Pole vault, Javelin throw and 1500 metres events.

His father, Scott Foster, a former SFU track and field athlete, thought it would be a good move, given his combination of muscle mass with long arms and legs.

It was a good call.

His first time out, Foster qualified for the B.C. team.

He is the Fraser Valley champion in the pole vault with a jump of 4.4 metres (14 ft. 1.125 in) representing D.W. Poppy Secondary School (Langley).

At the just-completed B.C. high school championships, Foster finished first in the Senior Boys’ Decathlon and first in the Senior Boys’ Pole Vault (at 4.2 metres).

Foster said he was grateful for the guidance and support of Suriya and D.W. Poppy head coach Dale Harrison and principal George Kozlovic, who praised Foster as a “phenomenal athlete.”

Suriya is confident Foster will be standing on a Pan Am Games and maybe even an Olympic podium one day.

“I’m very confident,” the proud coach said.

“It’s a matter of when.

READ MORE: Langley teen sets new meet record

READ MORE: Langley athletes help Fraser Valley win medal race

Ethan Foster record:

– 2018 Decathlon first place at the BC High School Combined (Multi) Event Track and Filed Championships

– 2018 Pole Vault first place at the BC High School Combined Track and Filed Championships

– 2017 Decathlon first place at the BC High School Combined (Multi)rack and Filed Event Championships

– 2018 Decathlon first place at the Alberta Spring Challenge Meet

– 2017 BC Team Member at Canada Summer Games Meet

– 2017 BC Team Member at Canadian Legions Meet



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

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Ethan Foster in action. Courtesy Senaka Suriya

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