NEWS

B.C. athlete fights age limit at international track event

06/28/2013 10:17 EDT | Updated 08/28/2013 05:12 EDT
A B.C. track athlete claims she's being discriminated against because of her age after she qualified for the Canada team heading to the Francophonie Games in France this fall.

After Diane Cummins earned a spot in the 800 metre event last week, she was told at 39 years of age she was four years too old for the event, which has an age limit of 18 to 35.

"I was sad...I was sad. You know nobody can explain to you what it feels like to run for your country unless you've done it for yourself and I'm fortunate enough to have run for Canada on many occasions and so I have a connection to that feeling," said Cummins.

The former Olympian, who was once the 2002 Canadian women's 800-meter champion, says she is now racing to overturn the rule keeping her out of the upcoming race.

"If I don't get selected to the team it's going to be disappointing for me, but at the end of the day the big picture is to change this rule," said Cummins on Friday.

Athletics Canada is making an appeal on Cummins's behalf to the games organizers asking for the rules to be changed.

Admittedly the Francophonie Games 'raison d'etre' is to celebrate youth and give young athletes who may not have had a chance like Cummins to race in major international events like the Olympics, the Pan-Am or Commonwealth Games.

Aside from sports competitors duke it out in hip hop, juggling and giant puppet competitions.

But Cummins asks, if the goal is to promote youth, why is there also a lower age limit set at 18?

"It isn't just about too old. It's also about being too young, which doesn't make sense to me. If you're young and you're good you should go," she says.

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