© Copyright – 2016 – Athletics Illustrated Dunfee_Flash

The big news in athletics today was about disqualifications. The U.S. 4 x 100-metre relay team was disqualified, while a Japanese racewalker was DQ’d, then later reinstated after an appeal was launched.

Evan Dunfee, a Canadian racewalker from Vancouver finished in fourth position today during the Rio Olympic 50K event – a road race. He was temporary put into bronze medal position when Japanese athlete Hirooki Arai made contact with Dunfee, which appeared to cause his form to falter.

An appeal was launched the decision was overturned; therefore Dunfee was back in fourth position. It was at his discretion if he would like to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), but he decided not to feeling that it wasn’t the bump that caused his form to falter, but his own focus.

In a statement published by Athletics Canada, which can be viewed here, he wrote,” Not many people can understand the pain athletes are in three and a half hours into such a grueling race. I believe that both the Japanese athlete and myself got tangled up but what broke me was that I let it put me off mentally and once I lost that focus, my legs went to jello. Contact is part of our event, whether written or unwritten and is quite common, and I don’t believe that this was malicious or done with intent.  Even if an appeal to CAS were successful I would not have been able to receive that medal with a clear conscience and it isn’t something I would have been proud of.”

Dunfee broke the national record with his finish time of 3:41:38, a mere 26 seconds from the gold medal position. Slovakian Matej Tóth won in the time of 3:40:58, while Australian Jared Tallent won bronze in the time of 3:41:16. Arai finished two seconds in front of Dunfee.

Canadian Mathieu Bilodeau started the race, but did not finish. Thirty one athletes did not finish the race due either to voluntarily dropping out or becoming disqualified. Forty-nine finished.

The world record is 3:32:33 by French athlete Yohann Diniz from 2014. Dunfee improved his own national record that he set in Melbourne, Australia in December, which was 3:43:45.

On August 12th Dunfee raced the 20 kilometre event at the Rio Games and finished 20th overall in the time of 1:20:49.

Dunfee also owns national records in the 35K distance, which he set the time of 2:34:39 in and is credited with the 20,000-metre (20K track race) event record with the time of 1:21:57.

Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Sprint News: In other athletics news Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse won his third medal of the Rio Olympics with his second bronze in the 4 x 100-metre relay. The team which also included Aaron Brown, Akeem Haynes and Brendon Rodney initially finished fourth; however, the third place U.S. was disqualified for passing the baton outside of the zone. It was an error by Justin Gatlin, who left early causing the delay in receiving the baton.

The Canadian also broke the 20-year-old record from 1996 by finishing in the time of 37.64.  The Jamaican won, which gives Usain Bolt his third gold medal of these games. They won in the time of 37.37, Japan surprisingly finished in second place with their time of 37.60.

There is much talk about Bolt winning three gold medals in three consecutive medals, however, the 2012 London Olympic team was disqualified as Nesta Carter had tested positive for banned stimulants.

For Canada it was redemption of sorts as they were disqualified during the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games.

Also on team Canada as backups were Mobolade Ajomale and Oluwasegun Makinde.

Canada currently sits in seventh position in athletics medals with six: one gold, one silver and four bronze.