OTTOWA, Ontario – Gardner-Webb rising junior Natasha Akbarizadeh was one of 14 female student-athletes named to the Canadian National Team for the 2016 NACAC U23 Championships, which will be held in El Salvador this July.
It is the second national team selection in the past two years for Akbarizadeh (Maple Ridge, British Columbia), who will compete in the hammer throw in July for Team Canada.
The NACAC U23 Championships (North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association) will be held in San Salvador, El Salvador from July 15-17. Athletes from 31 different countries will compete at the Championships this summer.
Akbarizadeh has progressed consistently since her arrival on campus two years ago under the guidance of GWU throws coach Rob Golabek. She qualified for the 2016 NCAA Division I East Regional Championships this past season, accomplishing that feat with a throw of 59.65 meters at the 2016 Mountaineer Outdoor Open on April 30 in Boone, N.C.
She took second and earned All-Big South honors with a 58.03 meters in Lynchburg, Va., at the 2016 Big South Conference Outdoor Championships.
Akbarizadeh competed with Team Canada last summer in the hammer throw at the 2015 Pan Am Junior Games in Edmonton, Alberta after winning the Canadian Junior National Championship in the event on July 4.
Her mark for that title was 57.08 meters, which she moved past several times this past collegiate season.
The international appearance will mark the fifth time in the past 16 years that a Gardner-Webb student-athlete has competed on that stage in the sport of Track & Field. Akbarizadeh is the first GWU student-athlete to compete in the NACAC U23 Championships since high jumper Craig Norman did so in 2003 for the Jamaican National Team.
Gardner-Webb Track & Field International Competition History (Since 2000)
Sylvia Chelimo (Ugandan National Team) – 2000 Africa Senior Athletic Championships | 2001 World University Games
Craig Norman (Jamaican National Team) – 2002 Commonwealth Games | 2002 NACAC U23 Championships
Alex Young (U.S. Junior National Team) – 2013 Junior Pan American Games
Natasha Akbarizadeh (Canadian Junior National Team) – 2015 Junior Pan American Games | 2016 NACAC U23 Championships