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McLaughlin & Obera USATF Youth and Masters Athletes of the Year

Date: 
11/28/2016 - 18:37

INDIANAPOLIS -- USATF will recognize 2016 Olympian and world junior record holder Sydney McLaughlin as Youth Athlete of the Year and eight-time 2016 WMA gold medalist Irene Obera as Masters Athlete of the Year at the Jesse Owens Awards, announced Monday.

McLaughlin and Obera will be honored on Saturday, December 3, at the Jesse Owens Awards in Orlando, Florida. The event is held in conjunction with USATF’s Annual Meeting. A limited amount of tickets are available on site beginning Wednesday, November 30 at the Hilton Lake Buena Vista Hotel.

McLaughlin (Dunellen, New Jersey) set World U18 and U20 records in the 400-meter hurdles to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, finishing third in 54.15. McLaughlin initially broke the 32-year-old world junior record with her victory at the New Balance Nationals in June, crossing in 54.46. McLaughlin is undefeated in high school races since June 14, 2014 when she was just 14 years old.

“This has been the most incredible year of my life," McLaughlin said. "I couldn't have achieved what I did this year without the constant support and guidance of my parents, my brother, and my coach and teammates. I'd like to thank USATF for this amazing honor, as well as all the fans who voted for me."

A week after her 17th birthday, McLaughlin placed fifth in her opening round heat in 56.32 in the 400 hurdles at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio to advance into the semifinal round. In the semis, she placed fifth in 56.22. McLaughlin was named Gatorade National Track & Field Athlete of the Year and went on to become only the second female non-senior to win Gatorade National Athlete of the Year behind 2015 USATF Youth Athlete of the Year, Candace Hill.

Obera (Fremont, California), also the 2014 USATF Masters Athlete of the Year, won gold in the W80 100 meters, 200 meters, the 80-meter short hurdles, 200-meter long hurdles, the long jump, 4x100m and 4x400m relays, and the heptathlon at the World Masters Championships in Perth, Australia this fall. Obera set world records in the short hurdles and heptathlon in Perth, and now holds world records in the 100m, 200m, short hurdles, long hurdles, 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay.

“I am grateful to USATF for recognizing the accomplishments of masters track and field athletes,” Obera said. “After a career spanning more than four decades, I gladly accept this award on behalf of all of my fellow masters athletes who show up every day and compete simply for the pure joy of it, and who have been such a tremendous source of support to me over the years.”

Obera also won seven USATF titles this year at the USATF Masters Indoor Championships in the 60 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, high jump, long jump, triple jump and pentathlon.

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