Olympians Abdulai and Matthews are bound for Beijing

July 10, 2008

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Track and field star Ruky Abdulai has become the second SFU athlete to qualify for the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, joining women’s softball outfielder Melanie Matthews on the Canadian Olympic team. Abdulai (right) was crowned Canadian champion in the long jump at the 2008 Canadian Track and Field Championship July 3–6 in Windsor, Ont., jumping 6.48 metres to win the title. That, with her 6.72-metre jump earlier this season, vaulted her onto the Olympic roster. The popular Ghana-born athlete became a Canadian citizen on January 1 this year and capped her varsity career as the most decorated female in the history of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) at the association’s outdoor track and field national championships.

"This has been my dream, to compete for my adopted country," said Abdulai. "My dream has come true, I am so excited, and I can’t wait to wear the maple leaf."

Matthews (left), a third-year student, sat out this varsity sports year to pursue her Olympic dream but led all NAIA hitters in each of the previous two years and was the top hitter in the 2002 Softball World Championships. Other Beijing Olympians with SFU connections include: Women’s softballers and SFU alumni Erin McLean (’07) and Erin Cumpstone (’04); wrestler Carol Huynh (’04); wrestler Ari Taub; wrestling coach David McKay; and Australia’s top-ranked wrestler, physician and Canadian SFU transplant Kyla Bremner.
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