A new discus circle was unveiled on June 27. From left are Petawawa’s Park and Recreation Manager Kelly Williams, Mayor Of Petawawa Bob Sweet, Valour JK-12 School athlete Ethan Bullivant, Valour Principal Bryan Baird, Parks and Recreation Facilities Supervisor Mark Reinert and Valour teacher Gary Serviss. (Photos by Patricia Leboeuf, Petawawa Post)

New discus circle unveiled

By: Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, July 20, 2017

A newly installed discus circle will now allow track and field athletes to enhance their training.

The approximately $9,000 project, a partnership between the Town of Petawawa and the Renfrew County District School Board (RCDSB), has been in the works since 2015 and was unveiled on June 27. RCDSB provided the funds to purchase the safety netting and the metal ring for the 8 metre-in-diameter circle while the town provided the labour and cement.

“The big thing is that we can safely practice now without endangering the safety of athletes and other students,” said Valour Jk-12 School Teacher and Coach Gary Serviss.

Though designed with Valour students’ needs in mind, it is open to the general public as are the rest of the sports fields surrounding the Petawawa Civic Centre.

Serviss hopes to see the area transformed into a world-class outdoor track and field facility. The first step was the installation of a running track behind Valour. The discus circle was part of the second phase. He is now pushing for the installation of a javelin throw area with a rubber runway.

“It isn’t just for the students,” Serviss said, “it’s for the Town of Petawawa and the whole of (Renfrew) County.”

Before the changes, there was no location in Renfrew County for track and field athletes to compete, and they had to travel to Ottawa to participate at a higher level.

“Not only can we keep our championships local, we can also attract Eastern Ontario championships, East regional championships and maybe one day have the All-Ontario championships here,” said Serviss.

This addition also furthers the town’s vision of ensuring that the area is a multi-purpose community hub.

“The municipality has invested a lot of money over the years in building high quality sports fields and this gives us the opportunity to expand into other activities,” said Petawawa Park and Recreation Manager Kelly Williams. “We are elevating the level of service that is available not only to students at the local schools and within Renfrew County, but also to the general community.”

One of the people benefiting from this new circle is athlete Ethan Bullivant.

He is a powerhouse at the discus throw. The 17-year-old has obtained 45.77 m, and he has finished as high as fifth at the Provincial level despite the fact that he has had to train in conditions that limited the strength he could use behind his throws. The new circle is neither too sticky, nor too slippery and is a welcome addition to his training regimen.

“It’s nice to have something that we can use and get better,” said Bullivant. “We can actually train now.”

Serviss is excited to see how it will sharpen his skills and that of other athletes.

“It will be interesting to see what an athlete like him and others who follow behind him can actually achieve now with a proper sized circle to train in,” he said.