LANGLEY, BC – For Canada’s Andre De Grasse, Friday at the Canadian Track and Field Championships did not go according to plan.
With his banner hanging outside McLeod Athletic Park in Langley, BC, the reigning Olympic bronze medalist in the 100m and six-time Olympic medalist failed to qualify for the men’s 100m final, finishing ninth.
Yet, it was his time and the missed opportunity which loomed larger, as the 28-year-old ran his 100m heat in 10.21 seconds, well above the World Championship standard time of 10.00. With that, and being outside the quota spots for the top global event, De Grasse couldn’t qualify for the Budapest 2023 World Athletics Championship in the distance.
Fellow regular in World Championship and Olympic finals, Aaron Brown of Toronto, Ont. took his 11th Canadian Championship in the 100m, breaking the tape in 10.08, while Brendon Rodney took the silver medal in 10.12.
More Canadian Olympians rounded out the podium and fourth positions, with Bismark Boateng finishing with bronze and Jerome Blake just off the steps by 0.02.
“I’ve had championships go down to the wire, and I was used to it, and it was the moment I lived for,” Brown quipped, standing next to his young son Kingsley. “Every win is sweet, but this one feels sweeter because the guys came to play this year… I knew I had to lock in, and they weren’t going to make it easy for me.”
Meanwhile, for De Grasse, the 200m is the next target at the Canadian Championships, as he’ll look to solidify his spot at the World Championships by running below 20.16. However, even without a world-standard race, he is likely Budapest-bound being within the rankings quota.
The 200m begins on Sunday, with finals set for 12:41 pm PT. De Grasse, Brown, Blake and Rodney will also link up for Sunday’s 4x100m men’s relay, in which they will also receive an upgraded Tokyo 2020 Olympic silver medal on Saturday evening.
Former York Lion wins gold in women’s 100m
Former York University Lion Khamica Bingham continued her good form at the Canadian Championships, defending her 100m title from 2022 with another on Friday, running the distance in 11.25 seconds. Meanwhile, Sade McCreath-Tardiel took silver with a time of 11.32, ahead of the bronze medalist and former Guelph Gryphon Jacqueline Madogo’s 11.33.
For Bingham, likely among Team Canada at the Budapest Worlds, the winning time marked a season-best, with her previous best of 11.19 coming in June in Germany at the International Athletics Meeting Anhalt 2023.
Huskies, U SPORTS standout takes women’s heptathlon
Nicole Ostertag of the Saskatchewan Huskies captured the gold medal in the women’s heptathlon event with 6019 points, upsetting hometown favourite and Canadian Olympic Georgia Ellenwood by 18 points.
For Ostertag, who missed the 2022 Canada Games with an injury, the Canadian Championship win could vault her from a world top-40 rank in the heptathlon to among the top 20, setting her up for potential qualification for the Santiago 2023 Pan-Am Games this fall and paving a route to the Paris 2024 Olympics.
All while still competing in U SPORTS.
“I’m feeling really proud; it was a really tough couple of days, and that’s always how the heptathlon is,” the Saskatchewan third-year said, still catching her breath from the final 800m. “I was lucky to have Georgia [Ellenwood] to compete against… in the end, it came down the 800m, and I just tried to be as tough as I could.”
Rounding off the podium was Madisson Lawrence of the University of Manitoba with 5710 points, as she continued her strong 2023 string of performances, having been named the 2023 U SPORTS Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Rogers grabs title with hammer throw record
Camryn Rogers took the gold medal and Canadian Championship in the women’s hammer-throw event just a few kilometres away from her childhood home in Richmond, BC. The event, where won a World Championship silver medal in at Oregon in 2022, saw her throw a meet-record 77.43m, as she continues to aim for the elusive 80m mark.
“I’m even more excited for worlds if that’s even possible,” Rogers said of the upcoming World Championships. “We’ve had a really strong season; I haven’t had a single meet under 76-metres… it shows we’ve put in a lot of really good work.”
“It’s going to be a ton of fun, and the goal going in is to improve on the silver medal from last year.”
Kaila Butler took the silver medal in the event with a throw of 65.61 metres, while Jilian Weir took the podium’s final spot with a 65.58.
Warner misses out on 400m final
Reigning Olympic decathlon Champion Damien Warner is not competing in the 10-event Canadian Track and Field Championships competition, yet he is in the mix in several other events. On Thursday, he missed the podium in the men’s discus throw and moved on to race the men’s 400m on Saturday, where he failed to qualify for the final after being eliminated in the heats.
The athlete who regularly trains at Western University is set to race the men’s 110m hurdles on Saturday.
Regina Cougar Storm Zablocki took the gold medal in the men’s U20 100m, running to a time of 10.35, while he was followed by Darren Beaver and Junior Imoukhuede, who rounded out the podium. In the women’s U20 100m, Laval Rouge et Or runner Maria Thérésa Ulysse took the national championship in 11.79.
Although not U SPORTS related, the 800m bronze medalist from Oregon 2022, Marco Arop, took the track on Friday night, running his preliminary heat in 1:46.05, and will race the 800m final on Saturday at 9:15 pm PT.