Canadian highlights from day 1 of IAAF World Championships

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Canada got off to a fast start at the 2015 IAAF World Championships with Shawn Barber of Toronto, Ont., and Matthew Hughes of Oshawa, Ont., advancing finals, while Aaron Brown of Toronto, Ont., and Andre De Grasse of Markham, Ont., advanced to the semi-finals of the 100-metres. Other day one highlights include Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Humboldt, Sask., in fourth place after day one of heptathlon competition and Cam Levins of Black Creek, B.C., finishing 14th in the 10,000-metres final. 

Matthew Hughes advanced to the final of the 3000-metres steeplechase placing third in heat 1 in 8:41.52. “I got the big Q to move on, which was the goal. I felt some push and it wasn’t the guys I thought. Everyone is beatable when I’m on top of my game. My plan was to lay low for the first part, I was confident I could kick with them, I came off the corner hard to get a good last water jump in. I’m in the best shape of my life, just coming into my best form, I’m really hungry and motivated. I wouldn’t be on the start line if I didn’t think I could contend for a medal.

Andre De Grasse ran 9.99 +0.3 seconds in heat 5 of the men’s 100-metre heats to place second and advance to the semi-finals. “I was a little nervous in my warm-up, once I got into the stadium, all the people cheering, the atmosphere and the hype, it really got my energy up. I’m feeling pretty good now going into the next round. It wasn’t my best race, tightened up in the end. I’m going to go back, make the adjustments and be ready fortomorrow.”

Aaron Brown finished second in heat 6 of the men’s 100-metre heats in 10.03 +2.1 to also advance to the semi-finals. “I was hurt in the middle of the season, this is only my fourth 100-metres of 2015, it was really promising, looking forward to the semi-final.” 

Shawn Barber qualified for the men’s pole vault final with a clearance of 5.70-metres. “I was just focused on jumping well and advancing to the final. I put pressure on myself, my main goal is to get on the podium and represent Canada well. If I jump well in the final the results will speak for themselves, the goal from day one was to come out and find myself on the podium. Moscow (2013 World Championships) was a great experience to prepare myself for this, makes a big difference for a young athlete like myself.” Canada’s best-ever finish in the men’s pole vault at the World Championships is 11th by Douglas Wood in 1991. 

Brianne Theisen-Eaton got off to a roaring start in the heptathlon with a personal best of 12.98 (1127pts) in the 100-metre hurdles. She then struggled in the high jump, clearing 1.80-metres, and just couldn’t get into a rhythm. In the shot put she hit 13.05m and ran 23.94 in the 200-metres for a day one total of 3865 points placing her fourth overall in the heptathlon. “Best way to put it is I finished day one, disappointed with the high jump then just got into a funk and wasn’t able to get out of it. I have to figure it out. I need to get to sleep tonight and get my mind right ahead of tomorrow. I’m feeling pressure but it’s coming from myself, maybe expecting too much instead of just being relaxed and having fun like I usually do. I’m disappointed there’s no chance at gold, now the goal is to just get on the podium.“ Brianne has three events remaining in the competition to move into a medal position, the long jump, javelin and 800-metres. She is 55 points ahead of her day one total from the 2013 World Championships where she won silver. 

Cam Levins placed 14th in the men’s 10000-metres final in 28:15.19.

Alex Genest fell at about the one kilometre mark of the 3000-metres steeplechase; he ended up tenth in heat 2 in 8:52.49. “I’m really disappointed, fell down, don’t know what I was thinking, thinking of my next move. I had such a great training camp, I was ready to go, and this does not equal the work that I put in. Once I fell down my head just stopped working. I might have been able to recover but I just was not there anymore. I lost the race right there. I’m better than that.” 

Taylor Milne finished eight in heat 3 of the 3000-metres steeplechase in 8:43.47. “I thought I was ready to pop a big one, just didn’t happen, it’s frustrating. I’ve had two bad races all-year; unfortunately this was one of them. I didn’t feel any pressure, I was excited, was in a good headspace. My legs just went on me. “

Justyn Warner was fifth in heat 1 of the men’s 100-metre heats in 10.20 -0.1. 

Nicole Sifuentes of Winnipeg, Man., placed eighth in heat 2 of the women’s 1500-metres in 4:12.82.

Day 2 action preview

Please note day 2 action from Beijing actually begins this evening here in Canada. Things get started at 8:30 p.m. this evening with a trio of Canadians in the final of the 20-kilometres race walk. Inaki Gomez will look to improve on his eighth place finish from the 2013 World Championships in Moscow. He will face stiff competition from his teammate, Canadian record holder Evan Dunfee.

8:30pm (Saturday August 22), Evan Dunfee, Inaki Gomez, Ben Thorne, 20km RW FINAL
9:00pm (Saturday August 22), Brianne Theisen-Eaton, Heptathlon long jump
10:25pm (Saturday August 22), Tim Nedow, Shot put qualification
10:25pm (Saturday August 22), Sage Watson, 400mH heats
12:00am (Sunday August 23), Khamica Bingham, Crystal Emmanul, Kim Hyacinthe, 100m heats
12:05am (Sunday August 23), Brianne Theisen-Eaton, Heptathlon javelin Group B
7:10am (Sunday August 23), Aaron Brown, Andre De Grasse 100m semis
7:30am (Sunday August 23), *Tim Nedow, Shot put FINAL
7:40am (Sunday August 23), Brianne Theisen-Eaton, Heptathlon 800m
9:15am (Sunday August 23), *Aaron Brown, *Andre De Grasse 100m FINAL

*Pending qualification

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