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Sultana Frizell continues to rewrite Canadian hammer throw record book

Sultana Frizell had planned to spend the week training at home in Kamloops, B.C.

But instead she found herself in Tucson, Ariz., with another Canadian hammer throw record to her name and a No. 2 world ranking.

It seems coach Derek Evely liked what he saw in practice on Monday.

"I wasn't coming to Tucson at all. We were only thinking about preparing for my Hammer Challenge meet (hammer throwing's international circuit) in Morocco on June 8. But I was throwing well in practice so Derek said 'How do you feel about getting on a plane? I think you're ready to go.'

"I'm like: 'I know I'm ready to go. Let's do this.'"

The 29-year-old Perth, Ont., native was on a flight the next morning, and with her sixth and final throw at the Tucson Elite Meet on Thursday night, flung the hammer 75.73 metres to win the competition and shatter her previous Canadian mark of 75.04 she set in 2012.

"I was kind of thinking I could possibly throw a Canadian record, but I wasn't too sure, just because we weren't really preparing for it," Frizell said. "Derek said 'Let's just go see what you can do.' I definitely had some plane legs going on in the first round. . . I threw 71.80, 74.10. . . the finally the record."

The mark vaulted Frizell to second in the world rankings behind China's Wang Zheng (77.68).

Frizell continues to take her own personal eraser to the Canadian record — her latest effort Thursday night was her ninth national record.

She credits her success so early this season to her coaching change. She started training with Evely after he left UK Athletics following the 2012 London Olympics and moved back to his hometown of Kamloops.

Since this Canadian record came so early in the season, in only her second meet, she knows she has another one in her.

"Hopefully it will come at the right time, and that would be Commonwealth (Games, in July in Glasgow)," Frizell said.

The Canadian is the defending Commonwealth Games champion, but called her victory in Delhi in 2010 "a performance not becoming of myself."

Still, her throw of 68.57 was worth gold and a Commonwealth Games record.

She was second at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara in 2011 on her 27th birthday, then at the London Olympics a year later, failed to get out of the qualifying round, throwing 67.45 for 26th place. (She would say afterward that faulty measuring equipment in London failed to measure her first —and best — throw).

Evely said he chose the Tucson trip because Thursday's meet was a strong one for throwers, and because Frizell will get another chance to throw at the Tucson Elite Classic on Saturday.

"A lot of professional throwers come here because the facilities are amazing and you can guarantee the weather will be great," Frizell said. "It's very hard to find, as a hammer thrower, good conditions, so everybody loves to come and compete in Tucson."

Frizell's mark Thursday night also tied her with Amanda Bingson of the United States for the North American record.

There will be more on the line in Marrakech, Morocco next month. The Hammer Throw Challenge series is basically that event's equivalent of the prestigious Diamond League for virtually all the other track and field events.

Final series rankings are determined by an athlete's three best performances. The male and female winners each receive US$30,000, while second and third placed athletes earn $20,000 and $14,000 respectively, with prize money going down to 12th place.

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