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Canadian women listed here.
Canada plays host to the 2015 Pan American Games with Toronto as the host city. Over the weekend, Athletics Canada named the selected athletes who will have the opportunity to represent the country on home soil.
This is one of the strongest teams Canada has ever fielded, headed by a brand new, world-class sprint star in Markham’s Andre De Grasse.
The twenty-year-old set the track world on its ear Friday, June 12th by winning the NCAA Championships in both the 100 and 200-metre distances. He finished in the stunning times of 9.75 and 19.58, respectively. The performances were wind-aided, so will not count as records; however, they are very impressive results regardless of the wind. The wind in the 100m event was clocked at 2.7, exceeding the legal limit of 2.00, while the wind for the 200m race was 2.4.
If the 100m time counted, he would have been the sixth-fastest man all time behind Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Asafa Powell, Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay. The world record is currently held by Bolt at 9.58.
If the 200m performance counted, he would be the fifth-fastest man of all time behind Bolt, Blake, Michael Johnson and Walter Dix. Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin share the Canadian record in the 100m at 9.84. DeGrasse holds the national 200m record of 20.03, which he set on May 16th of this year; he’s running on a high and is entered into both events, look for two medals from De Gresse.
Anything can happen in the 800m event. Canada’s two representatives have respectable personal best times of 1:45.35 for Brandon McBride of Windsor and 1:45.60 for Speed River Track and Field Club’s Anthony Romaniw. The Pan Am 800 final could be won in a time anywhere from 1:43.00 to 1:46.00 depending on how the race plays out. Both athletes will have to be at their sharpest in Toronto.
Cambridge’s Nate Brannen is Canada’s fastest active 1500m runner and is a veteran of international competition. He is a six-time world championships competitor including indoor and outdoor track as well as cross-country and he is a two-time Olympian. The 32-year-old owns a personal best time of 3:34.22. Depending on how his race plays out at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Edmonton next month, which will dictate whether he goes to the World Championships again, may in turn dictate his performance in Toronto. Peaking can sometimes be short-lived. The savvy veteran may choose the World’s in August to truly display his talents.
Cameron Levins of Black Creek, BC is competing in the 5,000m distance. He has a chance to win the gold medal depending on if Nike Oregon Project’s Galen Rupp decides to race. Levins has bettered his NOP teammate in indoor competition during 2015, so may win regardless. He also has an opportunity to take the Canadian record for the distance. He owns the second fastest time and recently took the national record in the 10,000m event with his 27:07.51 performance this spring. Although championship events do not always offer an opportunity to set the best times, Levins is likely fit enough to run just under 13-minutes if the situation presents itself. He owns a 5,000m best of 13:15.19. The Canadian record is owned by Jeff Scheibler at 13:13.96 from 1998.
In distance running Mohammed Ahmed is Canada’s “other one” at the moment. Although he is recognised in the running community as an international level athlete and has run some outstanding performances, he does run in the shadow of Levins. Ahmed has an opportunity to break out and medal in Toronto. His personal best is a strong 27:34.64. He and Levins both have Olympic experience from the 2012 games in London. Ahmed is competing in the 10,000m event.
Vancouver’s Luc Bruchet is also entered in the 10,000m event. He continues to improve as this spring he has run new personal bests in both the 5,000m and 10,000m distances.
Matt Hughes is a genuine threat to medal in Toronto in the 3,000m steeplechase. He owns the national record at 8:11.64. His personal best is two years old; however, this spring he displayed excellent fitness in the 5,000m event by running a new personal best times with a 13:19.56 during the Payton Jordan Invitational.
The marathon will be an interesting event. As only so many marathons can be competed at a high level in a single year – just one to three and perhaps four for the world’s most elite, other Pan-American countries may not send their best athletes, saving them for the world championships. Rob “Destroyer” Watson of Vancouver is one of Canada’s fastest runners over the distance and should preparation meet opportunity he may have the chance to grasp the brass ring in Toronto. He is a popular athlete and will likely benefit from running in front of his fans. His personal best is 2:13:29.
Kip Kangogo of Lethbridge, Alberta will represent Canada for the first time. The 36-year-old former Kenyan owns a best of 2:15:35.
Derek Drouin is Canada’s high jump record holder with his best of 2.40m. He is a bronze medallist from the 2013 world championships as well as the 2012 London Olympics. Drouin has an opportunity to bring Canada a gold medal. Only eight men have jumped higher than him in history. The world record is 2.45m.
The Canadian record holder in the pole vault is Shawn Barber with his best of 5.91m, which he set in both indoors and outdoors during 2015. He is on a roll and is one of the best, active pole vaulters in the world. He is a real threat to medal.
In race-walking Canada is sending three men, Evan Dunfee and Inaki Gomez in the 20-kilomtre distance while Creighton Connolly will compete in the 50K event.
Only five seconds separate two of Canada fastest 20K race-walkers as Dunfee has walked the distance as fast as 1:20:13, while Gomez has gone as fast as 1:20:18, both during 2014. This may turn out to be a battle-within-a-battle as the two athletes seek medals on the streets of Toronto. Many of the faster athletes on the world stage are Chinese, Russian and from other Eastern European countries, while Mexico is not producing top race-walker like they have in the past. Dunfee and Gomez have a real opportunity to compete for medals, here.
Damian Warner will likely win a medal in the Decathlon. He won bronze during the 2013 IAAF World Championships, which is a meet on par with the Olympics in terms of competition. The 25-year-old London, Ontario native has a best performance point total of 8513 from the world’s competition. The national record is not completely out of reach and is held by Mike Smith at 8626 from 2003.
Below is the full list of athletes competing.
Andre De Grasse
Andre De Grasse
20km race walk
50km race walk
Andre De Grasse
– See more at: http://athletics.ca/national-team/athletics-canada-athlete-tracking/pan-american-games-team-list/#sthash.mRZS5JfB.dpuf
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