Five of Canada’s biggest talents are set to compete Friday and Saturday at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon. Mohammed Ahmed, Sage Watson, Gavin Smellie, Aaron Brown and Kate Van Buskirk are all racing this weekend in the historic meet at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field.
Van Buskirk is the first Canadian on the start line, competing Friday evening at 7:42 PDT in the National women’s 1,500m. She will also pace the women’s 5,000m on Saturday afternoon at 2:14 PDT. Van Buskirk is coming off of a stellar season opener in the 5,000m at Payton Jordan a couple of weeks ago. She opened in a Canadian leading time of 15:16.34. Van Buskirk is the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist.
Mohammed Ahmed will run the men’s two-mile just after Van Buskirk Friday evening at 8:06 PDT. Ahmed has nearly re-written the Canadian distance record board, now owning the Canadian 5,000m record with pending 3,000m and 10,000m records as well. Ahmed was fourth in the 5,000m at the Rio Olympics and was a double silver in March at the Commonwealth Games over 5,000m and 10,000m. He will compete against some of the best in the world, including: Paul Chelimo, the 2016 Olympic silver medalist over 5,000m; Edward Cheserek, one of the most decorated NCAA athletes of all time; and Hassan Mead, the American 10,000m champion in 2017.
Sage Watson is included in the Saturday programme. She will run the 400m hurdles at 1:03 p.m. PDT and compete against Dalilah Muhammad, 2016 Olympic gold medalist. This is Watson’s third Diamond League meet of the season, having already raced in Doha and Shanghai. Watson was sixth at the 2017 World Championships in London last August.
Gavin Smellie, fresh off his big PB in Windsor on the weekend, will be running the 100m Saturday afternoon at 1:18 p.m. PDT against Christian Coleman, 2017 World Championship silver medalist. Coleman was supposed to go head-to-head against 2017 World Champion Justin Gatlin. However, Gatlin has withdrawn from the meet because of hamstring tightness.
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Aaron Brown will run the 200m Saturday at 2:44 p.m. PDT against American Noah Lyles. Lyles has run third fastest time in the world for the 2018 outdoor season.
CBC is broadcasting all of the Diamond League races this outdoor season. Tune in Friday and Saturday to see some of Canada’s best athletes compete at historic Hayward field.