Praise Aniamaka, a Cloverdale resident and Grade 12 student at Pacific Academy in Surrey, leaps over fellow track athletes with the Vancouver Thunderbirds club. (submitted photo)

Praise Aniamaka, a Cloverdale resident and Grade 12 student at Pacific Academy in Surrey, leaps over fellow track athletes with the Vancouver Thunderbirds club. (submitted photo)

TRACK AND FIELD

Record-setting Surrey athlete triple-jumps his way onto Purdue track team

Indiana university-bound Praise Aniamaka ‘was highly recruited and is an excellent student’

As Canada’s top junior triple-jumper, Praise Aniamaka is set to make the leap to NCAA-level competition with Purdue University’s track team.

The Surrey athlete, 17, has been recruited by the Indiana-based Boilermakers program, for training and studies starting next fall for the current Grade 12 student at Pacific Academy.

Aniamaka, who lives with his family in Cloverdale, has excelled with the Vancouver Thunderbirds club in recent years, and is as much of a standout in the classroom as on the track.

At Purdue’s West Lafayette campus, he intends to major in integrated business and engineering, for a future career as a financial advisor or project manager.

“Praise is the No. 1 junior triple jumper in Canada,” notes Purdue track coach Norbert Elliott in an announcement posted to purduesports.com. “He was highly recruited and is an excellent student. He chose Purdue because of our strong engineering program and the recent triple jump success that we’ve had with Jah Strange and Tamar Greene, both recent NCAA Championships qualifiers. Praise exhibits all the raw tools necessary to be a really good triple jumper, and we are excited to have him come to Purdue.”

Coached by Iuliana Kroeger with the Thunderbirds, the 2003-born Aniamaka holds the U-18 Canadian indoor triple jump record, with a mark of 15 metres set last February, and is a three-time provincial champion in the triple jump. He’s also a three-time provincial runner-up in the 300-metre hurdles.

Kroeger first saw Aniamaka on the track during a school meet seven years ago, in her role as a volunteer track coach at Pacific Academy, and recruited him to the Thunderbirds.

“He wasn’t the best when we got him, the first couple of years, but he worked very hard and improved and became national champion,” Kroeger said.

“We started with training him in the fundamentals, in events like hurdles, long jump, pentathlon, all those events, and he jumped more than a metre longer than others when he first did triple jump,” she recalled.

“I was very happy to have him and I’m proud of him,” Kroeger added. “He was obviously a talented athlete and his strength is hard work, commitment and dedication.”

(Story continues below)

Ranked fourth in the world as a triple-jumper in his age group, and first in Canada, Aniamaka has trained on the track at North Surrey Secondary with other Surrey-area athletes of the Thunderbirds club.

Last May Aniamaka was named BC School Sport’s Subway Athlete of the Week for the South Fraser Valley, according to a post on thunderbirdstrack.org.

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t allowed Aniamaka to tour the Purdue campus yet, and scrubbed training and competition opportunities this year.

Still, he’s motivated to get to the next level in the triple jump event.

“I just really like trying to be the best I can be, and it’s a real test of physical ability, with the sprint and jump,” Aniamaka said. “I like pushing myself.”

With an eye on the Olympics one day, Aniamaka’s more immediate goal is to compete at the junior world track championships as a member of Team Canada.

“He still has lots to learn, he’s very young for this event, and hopefully he will one day represent Canada,” Kroeger said.

Aniamaka says he choose Purdue because he’s confident the university is “more than capable of supporting me to reach both my athletic and academic goals.

“The coaches here have the athletes’ best interest in mind and are as passionate about the sport as I am. Academically, Purdue speaks for itself, as it nears the top of the ranking year after year. All that being said, I know Purdue will equip me to be the best I can be in every area of life.”

Aniamaka’s parents are Precious and Jasper, and his two siblings include younger brother Divine, also a Pacific Academy student who trains with the Thunderbirds track club.



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Tom on Twitter

College sportsTrack and field

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Hugh Dobbie’s South Surrey-based tech business Yare Media was recently acquired by California’s Visaic Inc. (SFU photo)
South Surrey tech company acquired by California business

Hugh Dobbie founded Yare Media in 2016, and ‘will remain involved’

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Newton Elementary School in Surrey, according to an information bulletin Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Image: Google Street View)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at second Surrey elementary school

Newton Elementary closed for two weeks, set to reopen Dec. 14

Joy Johnson, seen here during an installation ceremony on Oct. 22, is Simon Fraser University’s 10th president and vice-chancellor. (Submitted photo)
SFU’s Surrey campus tackling COVID-19-related research

‘We can learn now,’ SFU president Joy Johnson said, ‘so should something like this happen again we’ll be prepared. We have to learn from this current pandemic’

Mayor Darryl Walker gives a welcoming hug to Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell at the inaugural meeting of the current White Rock council in 2018. (Alex Browne photo)
White Rock council under fire for inaugural prayer

BC Humanist Association charges city violated Supreme Court ruling two years ago

Chief Robert Gladstone of Shxwha:y Village at a federal flood funding announcement April 24, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)
Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

All Nations Chiefs from the Shxwha:y, Cheam, Soowahlie and Sq’ewlets holding online forum Dec. 2

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld is taking heat over using a ableist slur to refer to three Black Press employees. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)
BC School Trustees Association president keeps heat on Chilliwack Trustee Barry Neufeld

In a news release, Stephanie Higginson called on voters to take careful note of Neufeld’s behaviour

Most Read