The 2022 athletics calendar for some countries is full, almost too full. For British athletes they not only had the daunting task of qualifying for the World Athletics Championships but the Commonwealth Games as well as the European Athletics Championships.
For Canadians, only the Euros is missing from their calendar. It is a lot. Let’s not forget the professional Diamond League series continues with four of 13 meets remaining.
Butterworth squeaks through to final
In an unforgiving qualifying round that included the 2022 World Athletics Championships’ second, third and fifth place finishers, Lindsey Butterworth and Maddy Kelly needed near-perfect races to make it through to the next round. Only the top-two in each heat plus the next two fastest athletes would get to race again.
Butterworth lined up first, in heat 2 of 3, and finished fourth in 2:00.04. By the end of the heats, it remained fast enough to grant her the second wild card spot.
“I think there is still room for improvement but It wasn’t an easy field so I’m really happy that I made the final – I’m hoping for a fast one on Saturday,” said Butterworth.
Kelly, meanwhile, faced a stacked third heat. The Canadian national champion finished fifth in 2:02.99, missing the final round.
“They just had a gear I didn’t have today, and that’s disappointing because there was a time in the year when I had that gear,” she said. “I think we just have to chalk this up to the fact that it’s been a long season – I need a break.”
Mitton makes shot put final with just one throw
Sarah Mitton took no more time than she needed in the shotput circle. The fourth-place finisher at the 2022 World Championships qualified for the final on her first and only throw of the preliminary round, tossing for 18.24 metres. It was the second-best throw of the entire first round, trailing only Jamaican Danniel Thomas-Dodd’s result of 18.42 metres.
“It was one and done. today there were only 13 girls and top 12 qualify, so the main goal was to save energy for tomorrow,” said Mitton, whose personal best of 20.33 metres ranks her fourth in the world this year, and is the best mark by anybody entered in the Commonwealth competition. She will throw again on Wednesday at 3:05 p.m. EST, in what will be her first-ever Commonwealth Games final.
“The energy is really good,” she said, adding that she rarely throws in front of a packed 30,000-person stadium – especially in a qualifying round. “I’m excited for tomorrow.”
Newell and Newman have tough day on pole vault runway
Canada’s top two pole vaulters had come to Birmingham with resumes cut out for the podium but fell to fifth and sixth place after struggling to make early jumps.
Anicka Newell and Alysha Newman, who hold personal bests of 4.70m and 4.82m, respectively, finished fifth and sixth overall, this time clearing 4.35m and 4.25m. Newman, the Canadian record holder and defending Commonwealth champion, is a few months removed from enduring year of compromised training after sustaining a concussion and lingering symptoms.
“I’m truly thankful for how far I’ve come since Tokyo and recovering from my concussion but there is still something holding me back from competing at my best,” said Newman.
“I’m not completely sure what is it yet but I’m determined to figure it out. This season was a blessing to be back on the world stage but I still have a lot of work to do. That’s what I’ll be looking forward to.”