Canadian university athletes look to shine at World Athletics Championships

VANCOUVER, BC – Canadian athletes have shown their worth to the athletics world, and the nation’s track and field stars are ready to do it again at the Oregon 2022 World Athletics Championships this month. 

Athletics Canada named 54 athletes to Team Canada for the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, with nearly a third, 17, having spent time in Canadian university sport. In addition, 10 ran their collegiate races in U SPORTS, while seven, split between UBC and SFU, spent time in the NAIA. 

While the names such as Andre de Grasse and Damian Warner highlight the Canadian squad heading to competition,  there are potential medalists in the contingent of former Canadian university athletes. 

UBC athletes highlight medal potential 

(The Canadian Presss)

Tokyo 2020 race walk bronze medalist, and UBC alumnus Evan Dunfee headlines the UBC group as he approaches what could very well be his final major meet. Dunfee admits he’s not in the best shape of his life, yet he put together a vital win against rival Ben Thorne at the Canadian Track and Field Championships.

Joining Dunfee as UBC alumni include Natalia Hawthorne, Liz Gleadle, Rowan Hamilton, and John Gay, all of whom performed well at the National Championships in Langley, BC, last month. 

Gay, the current Canadian Champion in the 3000m steeplechase, could also contend for a medal, competing against the world’s best. Last year at Tokyo 2020, the BC-born athlete finished 15th in the event, despite qualifying on a last-gasp chance at the Olympic trials. 

Hamilton will compete in the hammer throw event, while Gleadle takes on javelin and Hawthorne the 1,500m, among other distances. However, none are medal contenders in their disciplines. 

OUA athletes bring quality, but a certain one is missing

(Getty Images)

Former Toronto Varsity Blue Lucia Stafford is Eugene-bound, but the other half of the OUA distance sister duo won’t be heading to Hayward Field. 

Gabriela DeBeus-Stafford, one of Canada’s top distance runners, who holds seven Canadian records between indoor and outdoor track, has shut down her season due to a back injury. 

However, between her sister, Lucia, and five other former OUA athletes, there is still a strong contingent from the largest conference in U SPORTS. 

Decathlon athlete and former York Lion Pierce Lepage headlines the group after finishing 5th in the event at Tokyo 2020 and rounding into form in the long jump at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in July. Helping him with also be the fact that the Canadian spotlight will be cast upon Olympic Champion Damian Warner, who trains at Western University. Still, Lepage brings medal-contending prestige to the Canadian team. 

Initially, former Guelph Gryphon Jacquelin Madogo and York Lion Khamica Bingham wern’t heading to Oregon, yet as Nigeria’s 4x100m relay team was caught in a doping violation, the two booked their tickets to Eugene. As a result, Canada, which ranked 17th in the 4x100m, will compete at the world championships.

Madogo and Bingham competed at the Canadian Championships, with Bingham winning the women’s 100m dash gold medal as she prepared to take on the world in Eugene. While the Canadians won’t b favoured individually or in the relay, they are unlikely to finish last. 

Don’t lose sight of Lucia Stafford and Maddy Kelly in distance events. The two former Toronto Varsity Blues won national titles in their events at the Canadian Championships and are in peak fitness heading to Worlds. Meanwhile, Guelph’s Zoe Sherar is a youngster to watch in the women’s 4000m. 

Headliners return for the Canadian team

(Canadian Olympic Comittee)

Outside of the 17 current and former Canadian university athletes, Canada is sending a large and star-studded team to the World Championships, headlined by none other than Andre de Grasse, the world’s fastest man in the 200m. 

While de Grasse’s last Diamond League race in Paris was one to forget, he showed he can still win, as he did in the 100m and 200m at the meet in Oslo. Although he is returning from Covid-19 at the World Championships, he is said to be in good form and ready to take on his events. 

Additionally, Moh Ahmed is back in the picture in the men’s 1,500m and will have eyes for the podium, as will the previously mentioned Damian Warner in the men’s decathlon. 

It is a jam-packed summer for Canadian athletics, with the Diamond League, National Championships, World Championships, and for many, the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, yet the top athletes are showing no wear and tear just yet as they carry the maple leaf on tracks throughout the world. 

The 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, begin on July 15, with every event streaming live for free in Canada on CBC Sports. 

Total Canadian University Athletes list:

(The Associated Press)
  • Khamica Bingham – York
  • Lindsey Butterworth – SFU
  • Jean-Simon Desgagnés – Laval
  • Evan Dunfee – UBC
  • John Gay – UBC
  • Liz Gleadle – UBC
  • Rowan Hamilton – UBC
  • Michelle Harrison – Sask
  • Natalie Hawthorne – UBC
  • Maddy Kelly – Toronto
  • Pierce Lepage – York
  • Jacqueline Madogo – Guelph
  • Charles Philibert-Thiboutot- Laval
  • Zoe Sherar – Guelph
  • Lucia Stafford – Toronto
  • Addy Townsend – SFU
  • Regan Yee – TWU

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