Team Canada Expects Big Things From 54 Athletes Coming to World Championships in Athletics
Canada is sending a star team to the world athletics championships as 30 women and 24 men, who have won a total of 15 Olympic medals, will compete at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, July 15-24.
The team is led by six-time Olympic sprint medalist Andre De Grasse, 2020 Olympic decathlon champion Damian Warner and Moh Ahmed, who won silver in the 5,000 meters in Tokyo last summer.
All three were out of national championships – Warner and Ahmed were out with injury, De Grasse had COVID – but Athletics Canada officials said they expect all three to be at 100 % for the world championships.
“We had some great performances at the Nationals last week in a variety of events. We were also short of athletes who will be competing at the world championships, so we are anticipating great results overall in Eugene,” Athletics Canada head coach Glenroy Gilbert said in a statement. « With the World Championships as the benchmark event, we expect athletes to perform at their best and this is our strongest team. »
Canada is coming off one of its best Olympic performances, winning six medals at the Tokyo Games last summer. At the previous world championships in 2019 in Doha, Canada won four medals, one silver and three bronze.
WATCH | Sarah Mitton steps onto the Diamond League podium:
With de Grasse, Warner and Ahmed, there is a long list of podium threats for Canada at the world championships.
Shot putter Sarah Mitton is coming off a second-place finish at the Diamond League event in Sweden after breaking the Canadian record at the national championships in Langley with a throw of 20.33 metres.
Sprinter Aaron Brown completed his fourth career double at the national championships, winning the 100m and 200m. His teammate Jerome Blake, who will be part of the Canadian 4x100m relay team with Brown, De Grasse and Brendon Rodney, finished second in both events.
Marco Arop, who made the 800m semi-final in Tokyo, is a threat to reach the top three in Eugene, with teammate Brandon McBride, the event’s national record holder, not far behind after finishing second behind Arop at last week’s Nationals.
Walker Evan Dunfee is looking to win his second world medal and will compete in the 35km. He won bronze in the 50km at the 2019 world championships, the first Canadian to step onto the podium in the event and which he equaled at the Tokyo Olympics, but the distance has since been discontinued in both competitions.
Notably absent is middle-distance runner Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, who holds seven Canadian records between indoor and outdoor track. The Toronto runner interrupted her season in mid-June due to a back injury. DeBues-Stafford finished sixth in the 1500m at the 2019 world championships before moving up to fifth in Tokyo.
In women’s hammer throw, Camryn Rogers is set to have one of her best international competitions yet. She holds Canadian and NCAA records.
Alysha Newman is back in competition after spending most of last season recovering from a concussion. She won the pole vault last week in Langley and says she is confident for the world championships.
WATCH | Recap of the Canadian Track and Field Championships:
Women’s relay team takes last place
The women’s 4x100m relay team is also heading to the world championships for Canada after being moved up the world rankings due to a doping infraction in Nigeria.
Canada, ranked 17th, was one place behind Nigeria, with only the top 16 teams competing at the world championships. But Nigeria was disqualified this week after team member sprinter Blessing Okagbare was banned for doping offences.
The Canadian quartet of Khamica Bingham, Jacqueline Madogo, Leya Buchanan and Sade McCreath clocked a season-best time of 43.03 seconds at the Birmingham Diamond League in May, placing them 17th in the standings.
« The women worked hard this spring and made it into the top 16, » Gilbert told CBC Sports. « Their performance at Birmingham earlier this season prepared them for this great news. »
This is the second time this year that Canadian sprinters have benefited from a doping offense by an athlete from another country.
In May, the Canadian men’s 4×100 meters relay team was upgraded to silver in Tokyo after British sprinter CJ Ujah was found guilty of a doping violation.
CBC Sports will have full coverage of the Oregon World Championships with live streams starting July 15.