On a hot, sunny Saturday morning in Tokyo, Canadians ran some excellent times, with 400m hurdler Sage Watson and 800m runner Marco Arop advancing automatically to the semifinals of their respective events.
Women’s 400m hurdles
A drama-filled women’s 400m hurdles saw world record holder Sydney McLaughlin, defending gold medallist Dalilah Muhammad and Dutch national record holder Femke Bol advance effortlessly to the semifinals, along with 21 other athletes, but also two false starts (one of them resulting in a DQ for Rhonda Whyte of Jamaica) and a second DQ for Leah Nugent of Jamaica. Watson finished fourth in heat 1, which gave her an automatic entry into the semifinal, but two-time Olympian Noelle Montcalm of Windsor, Ont. finished sixth in heat 2, and her time of 55.85, though a season’s best, was not quick enough to get her into the next round. The semifinal of the women’s 400m hurdles goes Monday evening, Aug. 2 in Tokyo (Monday morning for Canadian viewers).
2019 Pan Am Games champion Marco Arop looked very relaxed as he cruised to first place in his heat, advancing easily to the semifinal; Arop had the eighth fastest time of the 24 qualifiers. Canadian record holder Brandon McBride, who led his heat through 600m, faded badly in the home stretch, finishing sixth in his heat, which was won by American Trials winner and Rio bronze medallist Clayton Murphy. Unfortunately, McBride will not be going any further in the competition.
NCAA champ Bryce Hoppel auto-qualled, as did and U.S. Trials silver medallist Isaiah Jewett, 2012 Olympic silver medallist Nijel Amos of Botswana, the fastest man in the world so far this year, and Peter Bol, who ran a national record for Australia of 1:44.13. The semifinal goes Sunday evening in Tokyo (Sunday morning for Canadian viewers).
Women’s 100m hurdles
U.S. runner Gabbi Cunningham, who replaced suspended hurdler Brianna McNeal went through, as did the world record holder, Keni Harrison, five years after failing to qualify for the Rio Olympics. That semifinal happens Sunday evening in Tokyo (Sunday morning for Canadian viewers). There are no Canadians in this event.
Saturday evening’s events will include the women’s 100m semis, featuring Canadians Khamica Bingham and eight-time national champion Crystal Emmanuel; the first round of the men’s 100m, featuring Rio bronze medallist Andre De Grasse; the semifinals of the women’s 800m and the mixed 4x400m relay.