OTTAWA – Athletics Canada announced today the team that will represent Canada at the 2021 Pan American Race Walking Cup. The two-day, biennial event will take place in Guayaquil, Ecuador, on May 8 and 9 and will celebrate its 20th anniversary this year.
The Canadian team will feature veteran 50-kilometre race walker Mathieu Bilodeau, Alger Liang, who is making his third appearance at the event and established a 10-kilometre personal best time of 44:46 in 2017, in the 20-kilometre event, and U20 standout Tyler Wilson who will don the Team Canada singlet for the first time as part of Canada’s National Team in the 10-kilometre race.
“I am looking forward to getting back out there again and to compete in an international field,” said Liang. “There are few race walking opportunities in Canada and little competition, so I am itching to be in a competitive environment again and to race against athletes who will challenge me. My goal heading into the 20-kilometre race is to do my best and to give it my all. I hope to come away with a personal best and to improve my ranking from the 2019 Pan American Race Walking Cup.”
“I am really excited to be named to my first National Team. It is a goal I have been working towards for a long time now. Being able to compete internationally definitely marks a big milestone for me,” said Wilson. “My goal in Ecuador is to get the most out of myself and to experience a truly competitive race. This will be by far the biggest race I have ever competed in, with very few competitive opportunities at home. I look forward to the experience and to see the hard work I have put in over the last year pay off.”
The 2021 edition of the event will feature teams from throughout the Americas, competing in distances from 10 to 50 kilometres on a two-kilometre loop located within Samanes Park, which features more than 860 hectares of green space, a memorial to the ecological Riviera of the Guayas River and access to numerous sports and recreation activities.
The two-day event is expected to unfold as follows:
|Date||Time (local time)||Event||Category|
|May 8||8 a.m.||20 km||Women|
|8:30 a.m.||20 km||Men|
|10:30 a.m.||Awards Ceremony|
|May 9||6 a.m.||50 km||Men|
|6:05 a.m.||35 km||Women|
|8 a.m.||10 km||U20 Women|
|8:30 a.m.||10 km||U20 Men|
|10:15 a.m.||Awards Ceremony|
Since the inaugural event in 1984, Canadian athletes have captured 10 medals – three gold, six silver and one bronze – most recently in 2017 when Benjamin Thorne crossed the finish line in a time of 1:21:01 in the men’s 20-kilometre race walk, good enough for silver on that day.
Representing Canada at the 2021 Pan American Race Walking Cup will be:
|Mathieu Bilodeau||Quebec City, Que.||Félix-Antoine Lapointe||Club d’athletisme de I’Universite Laval||Men’s 50 km|
|Alger Liang||Vancouver, B.C.||Gerry Dragomir||Vancouver Thunderbirds||Men’s 20 km|
|Tyler Wilson||Surrey, B.C.||Gerry Dragomir||Unattached||Men’s 10 km|
|Gerry Dragomir||Vancouver, B.C.||Head coach|
Pulling on the Team Canada singlet is something that neither Liang nor Wilson takes for granted. “Representing my country means representing all of the people in my life who have and continue to support me, believe in me and care for me. I am not only representing my country and myself, but all the people who helped me get to where I am today. From my family and friends, to my teammates at the University of British Columbia, my coach, my physio, and most importantly, my mom,” said Liang. “This has been the most difficult year of my life with the passing of my mom, and this opportunity is one way I can rise above it all for her and continue to push forward. I hope my example inspires others. This one’s for my mom and everyone in my life.”
Ready to represent Canada for the first time internationally, Wilson added “I believe being able to represent your country is one of the single greatest honours an athlete can have. I am excited to have been given this opportunity and plan to make the most of it.”
For the latest news and updates on the 2021 Pan American Race Walking Cup, visit https://panamericanathletics.org.