KAZAN, Russia (Team Canada) – Jeremy Rae of Fort Erie,Ont., captured Canada’s second athletics medal of the dayTuesday night at the 27th Summer Universiade when hefinished second in the men’s 1500 metres in a time of3:39.45, only six hundredths of a second behind the winner.
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Earlier in the day, race walkers Inaki Gomez of Vancouver, BenThorne of Kitimat, B.C., and Evan Dunfee of Richmond, B.C., hadclaimed team bronze in the 20km event.
Rae, a Notre Dame University student, was sixth with headinginto the final lap but mounted a spectacular comeback, despitealmost tripping in the final turn.
“I’m really confident in my ability to explode.I’ve had great finishes all season, Rae said as he steppedoff the podium. With 200 metres to go, I tripped when anotherrunner cut in front of me, but it didn’t stop me. I think Iwould have had a good shot at gold, but I’m happy I gotsilver.”
Rae almost caught champion Valentin Smirnov of Russia at thefinish line. The top four runners were separated by only 20hundredths.
Canada had been kept off the podium in athletics at the lastUniversiade in 2011 in Shenzhen, China, after racking up eightmedals in 2009 in Serbia.
“The guys showed me their medal this morning and I thoughtto myself, I really want one too,” Rae said. “It reallymotivated me and I’m happy I was able to reach thepodium.”
He became the first Canadian male to medal in the event at theFISU Games since Dave Bailey won silver in 1967 in Tokyo. Baileywent on to compete at the Mexico City Olympics the followingyear.
“Competing at the Olympics in Rio in 2016 is obviously oneof my main goals,” Rae said with a smile. “I’mhalf Brazilian so my mom would be really proud of me if Iqualified.”
Ross Proudfoot of Sudbury, Ont. (University of Guelph), also ranin the 1500 final. He placed ninth in 3:44.33.
Other Canadians in athletics finals on Tuesday included SarahWells of Unionville, Ont., fourth in the women’s 400mhurdles; Alicia Brown of Ottawa, fifth in the women’s 400m;Jessica Smith of North Vancouver, B.C., sixth in the women’s800m; Helen Crofts of West Vancouver, B.C., seventh in thewomen’s 800m; Daniel Harper of Brampton, Ont., eighth in themen’s 400m; and Patrick Arbour of Ottawa, who completed thedecathlon in eighth place.