Day seven of the IAAF World Championships in London, England, saw Canadian women rule the stage. Sage Watson of Medicine Hat, Alta., finished sixth in the women’s 400-metre hurdles final, Crystal Emmanuel of North York, Ont., qualified for the women’s 200-metre final and Melissa Bishop of Eganville, Ont., qualified for the women’s 800-metre semifinals.
Watson was off to a great start in the final of the 400-metre hurdles, and was in a podium position through 300-metres. She gave it her all, but with 100-metres to go a few competitors caught her. “I just went for it, you have to push yourself and see what you can do. I definitely did that tonight,” said Watson. When asked about her sixth-place finish she said “I’m ok with it. I left it all out on the track so I can’t be mad about that. I would have liked to run a personal best. Obviously, it would have got me a medal, but it’s my first time in a World Championships final at this level, so it’s only up from here.”
The 23-year-old will now compete in the 4×400-metres relay, most likely running the anchor (last) leg. “It’s exciting because you are taking the team home and finishing strong for them. I always like to give it my all running anchor and you know you’re going for a medal or you’re going for that top finish when you’re anchor. It’s just exciting.”
Emmanuel raced to a third-place finish in semifinal 3 of the women’s 200-metres in a time of 22.85 seconds to qualify for tomorrow’s final. Angela Bailey was the last Canadian woman in a 200-metre final at the World Championships, which happened to be the first World Championships in Helsinki in 1983. “It was better than what I felt in my first round, it was pretty good. I have to watch it over and see where I have to execute better in the final,” said Emmanuel following her race. On coming off the corner and into the straight, “I don’t know what I saw. I just kept going, kept going. I just kept looking down the straight and saying ‘I have got to get there. I have to get there.’” When asked if she expected to make the final she said, “I never have too high expectations for myself. I just went out there and said ‘You know what? This is it. This could be your final or this could be your semifinal, so I treated it like a final.’ And I said ‘This is my time and I’m going to show them that Canada is out here.’”
Bishop placed second in heat 2 of the women’s 800-metres in a time of 2:01.11 to secure her place in the semifinals. Heat 2 was by far the most physical with Bishop getting tripped on two occasions, and lots of bumping. However, the 2015 World Championships silver medallist was able to keep her composure and hang onto an auto-qualification spot into the semis. When asked about the situation, Bishop said it was “Really scary because it’s the first round. But that’s 800-metre racing, there are eight of us in one lane. It’s messy. It’s bumper cars.” The semifinals are tomorrow, beginning at 2:35 p.m. ET. Bishop also talked about her fitness, “I think I’m in better shape now than in Rio. I’m just coming off a really great time in Monaco, so I think we’re great. We’re in good shape.”
Annie LeBlanc of Repentigny, Que., did not advance out of the women’s 800-metre heats. She placed seventh in heat 3 in 2:04.06. LeBlanc on this, her first senior World Championships, “It was really overwhelming at first. My main focus today was to be relaxed and patient. Focus on effort and give it everything I had considering how I felt. I tried to ignore how I felt, but I felt a little flat, so that makes it a little harder.” LeBlanc will use this as a motivator. “Even though I wasn’t 100% there mentally and physically, I think that it was really worth the experience. Instead of just forgetting about my time, it was obviously not good, I’m just going to remember it as motivation. I’m hungrier more than ever.”
Lindsey Butterworth of Parksville, B.C., was also racing in the 800-metre heats. She placed eighth in heat 4 in a time of 2:03.19; not enough to advance to the semis. Butterworth wasn’t originally named to the team, but received an IAAF invitation. “Two weeks ago, I was in Abidjan at the Francophone Games. I found out three days before I was coming that I had made it to the World Championships, which was quite a shock and an amazing opportunity. I am really, really, happy that I got to experience this amazing opportunity,” said Butterworth. “The stadium and the whole World Championships is just incredible. I’m hoping to be back and be in a better spot than I am right now, but it was a great first experience.”
Alyx Treasure of Prince George, B.C., competed in Group B qualifying of women’s high jump. She had first time clearances over 1.80-metres and 1.85-metres, but wasn’t able to clear 1.89-metres. “It hurt. Honestly, I felt like I was ready,” said Treasure. “I felt good at the lower bars, and then when I got to a bar that I needed to work a little harder on, it just wasn’t coming into place.” She finished 21st overall, needing to be top 12 to advance to the final. “I should have made the final. That’s what is to be expected and it hurts that it didn’t happen.”
Andrea Seccafien of Toronto did not advance to the final of the women’s 5000-metres. She was 13th in heat 1 in a time of 15:19.39. “I wanted to make the final and I felt like that was realistic this year. It was a tough race,” said Seccafien following her heat. “You had to break 15 minutes to make the final. It was just a really good feel this year.”
Jessica O’Connell of Calgary raced to a time of 15:23.16 in heat 2 of the women’s 5000-metres, she also does not advance to the final. “I’m disappointed of course. Obviously, everyone enters this race looking to make the final and I’ve had very solid training, not perfect, but no one has perfect training really,” said O’Connell. When talking about her race tactics, she said “My plan was just to stick on them like Velcro and have them pull me through, because I really respect their tactics. The Velcro was a little weaker than I thought it was going to be. I wasn’t good enough.”
Canadian Day 8 Worlds preview (all times ET)
The most grueling event in athletics – the decathlon, which features Canada’s Damian Warner – gets underway on Day 8 of the 2017 IAAF World Championships. Five Canadian athletes will also be in action on the track and one in field events.
Canadian record-holder and Olympic bronze medallist Damian Warner (Calgary), begins his pursuit for gold at 5 a.m. in the men’s decathlon. The first half of the two-day event will unfold as follows:
- 5 a.m. – 100m
- 6:05 a.m. – long jump
- 7:55 a.m. – shot put
- Noon – high jump
- 3:45 p.m. – 400m
Hurdlers Phylicia George (Markham, Ont.) and Angela Whyte (Edmonton) take to the track at 5:45 a.m. in the women’s 100-metre hurdle heats, and at 2:05 p.m. should they advance to the semis.
Michael Mason (Nanoose Bay, B.C.) looks to quality in the men’s high jump at 6:15 a.m.
Following a physically race in heat 2 of the women’s 800-metres, Canadian champion and national record-holder Melissa Bishop (Eganville, Ont.) will run in the semifinal at 2:35 p.m.
After running a season’s best (9:31.81) on Wednesday in the heats, Genevieve Lalonde (Moncton, N.B.) will race in the women’s 3000-metres steeplechase final at 4:25 p.m.
Qualifying on time, Crystal Emmanuel (North York, Ont.) will take to the track at 4:50 p.m. for the women’s 200-metre final.