3 more Canadians reach Olympic standard at USATF Golden Games
Many Canadians competed at the USATF Golden Games in California on Sunday, and three athletes reached Olympic standard for the first time. Justyn knight, who has previously run standard in the 5,000m, posted a massive PB in the 1,500m, finishing second in 3: 33.41. Later in the night, Julie-Anne Staehli and Natalia Hawthorn lined up in the 5,000m, and they both reached Olympic qualifying times, finishing first and third. Melissa Bishop-Nriagu and Gabriela DeBues-Stafford also ran below par in the 800m and 1,500m, respectively, but both women already had Olympic qualifying results.
Knight’s second qualifying round
The Olympic qualifying window originally opened in May 2019, and a month later Knight ran under the 5,000m standard of 13: 13.50, posting a time of 13: 09.76 (the second fastest time in Canadian history) in the Diamond League competition in Rome. . With the 5,000m qualifying time locked, Knight focused on the 1,500m, and has spent the last few months getting closer and closer to the Olympic standard of 3: 35.00.
In Texas in February, he set a lifetime record of 3: 36.62. In Oregon in April he clocked a PB of 3: 35.85, and Sunday in California he broke his previous best time and finished well below par with his run of 3: 33.41. Knight finished second behind Australia Ollie Hoare, who ran at a PB of 3: 33.19.
With qualifying times in two events under his belt, Knight may have to choose between running the 1,500m or the 5,000m at the Olympics. While it is possible for him to run both, the preliminary laps of each event take place on the same day, August 3, and although the 1,500m is scheduled for the morning and the 5,000m before the evening, it would be always difficult. to take off. Ultimately, Knight’s problem with deciding which event to run is kind of a luxury, as it’s a dilemma many Olympic hopefuls would like to have right now.
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Staehli and Hawthorn take the podium
On May 1, Staehli ran the 5,000m in Kansas City qualifying, finishing second with a PB of 15: 24.66. The run brought her a little closer to the Olympic standard of 15: 10.00, but she was still close to 15 seconds. On Sunday, she made up those 15+ seconds, running an incredible time of 15: 02.34 and breaking her previous record of 22 seconds to finish well below par.
Staehli crossed the last corner behind Mexico Laura Galvan Rodriguez, but she didn’t settle for second, instead producing a dazzling finishing kick to secure the victory. Rodriguez finished less than a second behind, stopping the clock with a Mexican record of 15: 02.48. Seconds later, Hawthorn crossed the finish line to complete the podium in 15: 05.91.
Like Staehli, Hawthorn had moved closer to Olympic standard this year, performing several PBs to start the season. She opened 2021 with a 15: 31.27 at a competition in Victoria in March, and in April in Oregon, she ran 15: 18.67. She crashed this time on Sunday, giving herself a chance to be named to the Canadian Olympic team.
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Andrea Seccafien and DeBues-Stafford also ran Olympic standard in the 5,000m. Seccafien ran 14: 59.95 at the world championships in 2019, and DeBues-Stafford ran the Canadian record of 14: 44.12 in Brussels earlier that year. These are the only two other Canadian women to have run under 15: 10.00 (although Jessica o’connell ran an extremely tight time of 15: 10.64 in June 2019 and Regan yee ran an unofficial PB of 15:08 in a time trial in 2020). Unfortunately, only three women can represent Canada in the 5,000m, which could result in one woman (or more, if other Canadians reach the standard in the weeks to come) being excluded from the squad.
Other Canadian results
DeBues-Stafford had already run the Olympic 1,500m standard of 4: 04.20 before Sunday (she broke her national record of 3: 56.12 in October 2019), but she again beat the mark at the Golden Games with his second place and his season. best of 4: 00.69. If she chooses to focus on the 1,500m over 5,000m, that could solve all the problems of the 5km, giving way to a Canadian team made up of Seccafien, Staehli and Hawthorn. DeBues-Stafford’s sister also competed in the 1,500m race on Sunday, Lucia Stafford, who approached the Olympic standard with a PB of 4: 05.30.
In the women’s 800m, Bishop-Nriagu ran below the Olympic standard of 1: 59.50 for the second week in a row, improving her best result of the season to a 1: 58.62. So far, Bishop-Nriagu (who finished third on Sunday) is the only Canadian with a result in less than two minutes in the Olympic qualifying window so far. In the same race, Lindsey Butterworth and Madeleine Kelly was ninth and 10th, in 2: 00.50 and 2: 00.69, respectively.
To view the full USATF Golden Games results, click here.
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