KAZAN, Russia (Team Canada) – Canada won a pair of silvermedals in the 4×400-metre relays on the final night of athleticscompetition at the 2013 Universiade Central Stadium, Friday. Thepodium finishes were Canada’s fourth and fifth of the FISUGames in athletics, and bring the country’s overall total to10.
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The women’s team of Noelle Montcalm from Windsor, Ont.(University of Windsor), Sarah Wells of Unionville, Ont. (Toronto),Helen Crofts of Vancouver (Simon Fraser) and Ottawa native AliciaBrown (Toronto) captured silver behind host Russia in front of asold-out crowd of 30,000.
“To us it feels like we won,” said Wells, who was asemi-finalist in 400-metre hurdles at the 2012 Olympics. “Weknew Russia was going to be stacked, so we’re really happy.It’s a great way to close the competition.”
The Canadians clocked in at 3:32.93 and were in second placethroughout the race, with a sizeable gap between Russia, Canada andthe bronze medal winners from South Africa.
“As the fourth runner [the gap] is a little terrifyingbecause you don’t want to be the one to lose the lead youhave going,” said Brown.
On the other hand, the men’s relay of Benjamin Ayesu-Attahfrom Coquitlam, B.C. (Idaho), Mike Robertson of Ottawa(Ottawa), Brendon Rodney of Toronto (Long Island) and Daniel Harperof Brampton, Ont. (South Plains) was within striking distance ofthe Russian champions and even encountered some body contact duringthe third exchange.
Each team member in turn chased down the Russians on the backstraightaway and was on the shoulder of the leaders in the finalturn, but the home squad edged out the victory with a time of3:03.70, compared to Canada’s 3:05.26. South Africa alsopicked up the bronze in the men’s event, making the standingsof the two 4×400 relays identical.
“We watched the heats yesterday and we knew that Ben wasgoing to give us a great opportunity and position to go afterthem,” explained Robertson, who also competed at the 2011Universiade in China. “Their guy out of the first leg wasworld class. We gave ourselves a chance but we banged into themthere on that exchange and that made the gap a little toomuch.”
“We ran a good time and I hope that we can continue it atWorlds,” said Harper. “I love my team and I feel proudto represent Canada.”
For Roberston and Rodney, the medal came after bitterdisappointment in the 4×100 metre event earlier on the night. Adisastrous final exchange disqualified the foursome that alsoincluded Oluwasegun Makinde of Ottawa (Ottawa) and Sam Effah ofCalgary (Calgary) from the final.
Canada had the fastest time through the heats and looked to bein good position to challenge for gold. Effah, the anchor althoughhe usually takes off from the blocks in relays, took off early andRodney was unable to catch him inside the zone, despite tumbling tothe ground in a final lunging attempt. The team posted adisqualified time of 39.39 which would have ranked them fifth.
In the 800-metres, Anthony Romaniw of Guelph, Ont. (Guelph)finished seventh with a time of 1:49.04. The medal-hopeful ran inthe outside lane and held the lead through the first 600 metres,but by the time he came out of the final corner he was well behindthe leaders. Botswana’s Amos Nigel, the 2012 Olympic silvermedallist, captured the gold medal with a time of 1:46.53
In long jump, Taylor Stewart of London, Ont. (Western) posted apersonal best of 7.8 metres to place sixth in the final.
Two Canadians also competed in the men’s 5000-metre final.Lucas Bruchet of White Rock, B.C. (UBC) placed ninth witha time of 14:08.59, while Andrew Nixon of Guelph, Ont. (Guelph) was12th in 14:32.83, both well back of the lead group.
CANADIAN MEDALS IN ATHLETICS AT KAZANUNIVERSIADE
Gold: Kimberly Hyacinthe, women’s 200m
Silver: Jeremy Rae, men’s 1500m
Silver: Women’s 4x400m (Noelle Montcalm, Sarah Wells,Helen Crofts, Alicia Brown)
Silver: Men’s 4x400m (Benjamin Ayesu-Attah, MikeRobertson, Brendon Rodney, Daniel Harper)
Bronze: Men’s 20km walk team competition (Inaki Gomez, BenThorne, Evan Dunfee)