World championship spots on the line at Canadian track and field championships

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Olympic bronze medallist Evan Dunfee raced to his ninth Canadian title on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old from Richmond, B.C., pulled away from world bronze medallist Ben Thorne 18 kilometres into the 20K occasion, crossing in a single hour 23 minutes 24 seconds.

A number of metres from the end at Mission Raceway, usually dwelling to motorsport, Dunfee pumped his fist a couple of occasions and flashed a smile.

Thorne, who’s making a comeback after stepping away from the game in 2018, was second in 1:24.01.

Thorne, a 29-year-old from Kitimat, B.C., is hoping to qualify for the world championships subsequent month in Eugene, Ore. Dunfee has already clinched his berth.

Dunfee is without doubt one of the headliners on the Canadian championships, that are being held in entrance of a crowd for the primary time in three years.

And whereas followers will not have an opportunity to cheer on Olympic stars Damian Warner and Andre De Grasse, there are quite a few spots on the world championship group that might be hotly contested this week.

“It is nice to get all the most effective Canadians collectively once more, get to compete towards one another, even when the (Tokyo) Olympics had been a bit unusual (with no crowd), and a bit unfold out with the marathon runners in a unique metropolis and all kinds of unusual issues,” stated Simon Nathan, Athletics Canada’s excessive efficiency director.

“So, it is actually good to be again right here. Good recent observe (McLeod Athletic Park), hope for a superb crowd and a few enthusiasm and plenty of {qualifications} on the road in the meanwhile — it is thrilling, provides it some chew.”

De Grasse, a six-time Olympic medallist, just lately contracted COVID-19, whereas Warner is skipping the meet due to a sore knee that is been bothering him all season. Each obtained damage/sickness exemptions.

“Andre and Damian are short-term points that should not influence the world championships,” Nathan stated.

De Grasse’s constructive check was “actually unlucky timing,” he added. Bouncing again from an early-season foot damage, he’d posted a season’s finest 10.05 to win the 100 metres on the Oslo Diamond League final week.

“He hadn’t been having the best season however turned issues round. … However my understanding is it isn’t too severe,” Nathan stated.

Moh Ahmed, the Olympic silver medallist within the 5,000 metres, can also be scratched from the trials with an damage, but it surely’s not anticipated to influence his world championships.

“There’s positively far more (accidents) than I would love,” Nathan stated. “There is a little bit of a post-Olympic impact, which occurs each cycle. After which that mixed with such a brief season till the following Olympics (2024 in Paris), I believe individuals have been pushing exhausting.

“Then once more, if you are going to get harm, now’s the time to do it,” he added.

COVID-19 compelled cancellation of the Canadian championships in 2020, after which final 12 months’s Olympic trials had been held with small fields of opponents in every occasion in an empty stadium in Montreal.

A few of the weekend’s highlights embody Marco Arop and Brandon McBride within the 800 metres. The 2 world-class runners are separated by simply 0.06 seconds of their private finest occasions.

Nate Riech, who owns three Paralympic world information, will race the able-bodied 1,500 metres. Camryn Rogers is recent off a 3rd NCAA title within the hammer throw. Her Canadian report toss final week is ninth all-time on this planet. And excessive jumper Django Lovett has a gold and bronze on the Diamond League circuit this season.

De Grasse’s constructive COVID-19 check is a reminder that the pandemic nonetheless has the potential to derail athletes’ seasons, and Nathan stated Athletics Canada was instructing athletes to hold on with masking, and so forth., regardless of the elimination of masks mandates.

“It was actually fascinating for us once more, within the (Tokyo) Olympic expertise of all people handwashing, sporting masks, social distancing, no matter COVID, it was the bottom infections we have ever had as a group,” he stated. “Numerous different groups had the identical expertise.

“So, we’re advising individuals to hold on wherever you fly, whatever the guidelines, put on a masks, wash your arms, all these issues and make them a behavior and hopefully in 10 years time individuals will nonetheless be doing that, whatever the different items. However there may be nonetheless a little bit of a lottery impact as to who picks it up and who does not.”

A norovirus swept by way of the Canadian group on the 2017 world championships, affecting greater than a dozen athletes. Canada got here dwelling from London with no medals.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed June 22, 2022.

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

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