The track and field world championships begin Friday (CBCSports.ca, 12:50 p.m. ET) with some of Canada’s 57 athletes legitimate contenders for a podium finish and looking to help the team build on its record eight-medal performance of two years ago in Beijing.
Legendary sprinter Usain Bolt of Jamaica will also call it a career in London, England, where he will try to add to his 13 world championship medals when he competes in the 100 metres.
A much-anticipated showdown with Canada’s Andre De Grasse was scuttled Wednesday with news the latter suffered a grade 2 hamstring injury this week in training. The injury will also keep De Grasse out of the 200 and 4×100 relay events.
Will high jumper Derek Drouin return from an Achilles injury to successfully defend his 2015 world title, along with fellow Canadian and pole vaulter Shawn Barber?
Can Damian Warner take the next step in decathlon and improve upon his Olympic bronze-medal finish?
Once again, the London, Ont., native and his Canadian teammates will carry a “we belong” mentality into London Stadium. It’s a far cry from Canada’s 2009 and 2011 squads that brought home a combined two medals.
“When you step up to compete, it’s no longer [a feeling of being] in awe of other athletes. It’s about going out and competing hard,” hurdler and Canadian co-captain Phylicia George told CBC Sports on a recent conference call with reporters.
“A lot of people in the world are taking notice of [Canadians]. They know we’re genuine threats and here to compete, not just participate.”
Retired sprinter Glenroy Gilbert, whom Athletics Canada named head coach for worlds and made it a permanent appointment in July, is hoping the team can reach a double-digit medal count in London by converting the fourth-place finishes from last summer’s Rio Olympics, where Canada medalled six times.
Melissa Bishop was fourth in the women’s 800 metres, matching Jenny Thompson’s best placing from 1928. On the men’s side, Mo Ahmed’s fourth in the 5,000 was a big improvement on the previous Canadian best of eighth, while Evan Dunfee crossed the line fourth in the 50-kilometre race walk.
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