— Harry Jerome Classic (@Harry_Jerome) May 11, 2018
Harry Jerome is one of Canada’s most exciting track meets and it’s just days away. This year’s event has added a new competition to the programme – the Canada versus China Sprint Challenge.
Canada and China have each put together a men’s and women’s team to compete at the 100m, 400m, 4x100m and 4x400m events on June 26th and 27th.
Alicia Brown, 2016 Olympian over 400m and member of the Olympic 4x400m relay team, will compete in the Sprint Challenge. Brown is excited for an opportunity to race on home turf. “I think racing at home creates a better track culture in Canada,” she says.
“I also have family in B.C., so it’s fun for me to share the experience with them.”
Brown feels that events like the Canada versus China Sprint Challenge are a great way to mix up the competitors at North American track and field meets. “We get so used to going to the states or racing in Canada against the same people,” she says. “I think partnering with China is a great idea, the partnership will allow us to compete against athletes we typically don’t have the chance to.”
Canadians competing in the men’s 100m are: Andre De Grasse, Aaron Brown, Bismark Boateng and Bolande Ajomale. All four Canadians in the event have personal bests faster than their Chinese competitors.
On paper, the Canadian men should be faster than the Chinese in the 4x100m competition, however, there’s more to a relay than the addition of personal bests. The Chinese have recently executed flawless handoffs, brining their team big success at events like the 2017 Monaco Diamond League.
— China Daily (@ChinaDailyUSA) July 23, 2017
By contrast, Canada has struggled in recent history with their exchanges. The Canadian men’s 4x100m relay team has faced disqualification in four major games in the last six years due to lane violations or handoff issues.
In men’s 400m action, the Chinese have a strong contingent. Guo Zhongze has the fastest incoming time at 45.14, followed by Canadian Philip Osei at 45.22 and Wu Yuang, also of China, at 45.83. The individual 400m and 4x400m relay will be close competitions.
China’s relay entries doesn’t include one of their fastest men, Lu Zhiquan, which could tip the scale in favour of the Canadian team.
In women’s competition, Khamica Bingham leads the 100m field with a personal best of 11.13. She is followed by fellow Canadian Leya Buchanan at 11.17, and Yuan Qiqi of China in 11.29. Bingham was a 2016 Olympic finalist in the 4x100m. After a string of injuries, Bingham is back and ready to lead the team in Canada versus China relay competition.
Nothing in sport teaches you more about patience and learning to trust a process that often feels unsatisfying until you’re finally healthy & competing after YEARS of battling with injuries. You’ve been broken down but you stand stronger in ways you have never before 💪🏾 #TeamNB pic.twitter.com/CoywJpoX9n
— Khamica Bingham (@micabingham) May 23, 2018
In women’s 400m action, Sage Watson is the leading competitor. Watson has become internationally dominant over the 400m and 400m hurdles. The former NCAA champion has already competed at multiple Diamond League races this spring. Watson enters the meet with the fastest personal best of the field at 51.62.
Frustrated and disappointed with my performance at these games. It was just not my time. I truly believe these moments are preparing me for something greater and I will come back stronger from this. It was an honor to represent team Canada and I am so lucky to be apart of this amazing team. 🇨🇦 Thank you everyone for all your love and support it means the world to me. #commonwealthgames2018 #teamcanada
Following Watson in the rankings is 2016 Olympian over 400m, Alicia Brown. Brown has a personal best of 51.84. Third in the rankings in Canadian Aiyanna Stiverne at 51.93. With Canadian women locking down the top three of eight spots in the 400m competition, they are looking strong heading into the relay portion of the event. They will likely be joined in the relay by fellow Canadian Olympian, Micha Powell.
Brown notes that, “There’s so much depth in the women’s 400m in Canada right now. The landscape of the event is really changing, and the sport is growing. I’m excited to take part in the Sprint Challenge, it’s a very special opportunity.”