© Copyright – 2019 – Athletics Illustrated

John Gay paces 10,000m at Pacific Distance Carnival. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

University of British Columbia Thunderbird John Gay ran fast enough in the 3,000m steeplechase Wednesday to qualify for the 2019 World Championships in Athletics. The world’s meet will start on September 27 and takes place in Doha, Qatar.

Gay finished in a new personal best time of 8:28.96 at the Meeting International de la Province de Liège in Liege, Belgium. The standard to qualify is 8:29.00. He finished in sixth place.

Gay previously ran as fast as 8:30.89 at the Portland Track Festival in June this year.

The Liege race was won by Wilberforce Kones of Kenya in the time of 8:23.11. The second-place finisher was Mohammed Tindoufti, followed by fellow Moroccan Hicham Sigueni. They finished in the times of 8:23.44 and 8:24.09, respectively.

Gay ran in eighth place for most of the race and had crossed through 2600m in 7:25. According to his coach, Chris Johnson, “he must have dug deep in that final lap. It was a big accomplishment for John and I am very proud of him.”

But Worlds is not a done deal just yet. Gay is the third Canadian to run under 8:29 during the qualification period. The other two are national record holder Matthew Hughes as well as Ryan Smeeton. They have run 8:17.26 and 8:27.90, respectively.

There is a fourth athlete who is .10 of a second off of the standard and he has one month to attain the goal. Jean Simone Desgagnes of Laval ran 8:29.10 at the Payton Jordan Invitational in May of this year.

The steeple will be contested at the national track and field championships in Montreal on July 25-28. Athletes will need to finish top-three in their respective events to ensure that they qualify for Worlds.

The qualifying period ends on August 26, 2019.