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Lucia Stafford and Marco Arop punch tickets to finals at World Indoor Champs

Damian Warner leads the men's heptathlon after three of seven events

Photo by: Athletics Canada

Team Canada got out to a great start at the 2022 World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, with Lucia Stafford and Marco Arop qualifying for finals in their respective events–the women’s 1,500 and the men’s 800. Olympic champion Damian Warner began his bid for a world indoor championship, leading the heptathlon after three events. 

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Marco Arop shaking hands with Andreas Kramer of Sweden after taking heat 2 of the men’s 800m

After a late scratch in the 800m from one of the pre-race favourites, Elliot Giles of the U.K., Canada’s Arop took matters into his own hands, winning his heat in 1:48:13, which earned him a spot in Saturday’s final. Arop will be one of the favourites going into the final, if he can use his stride and strength to hold off the American contingent of Bryce Hoppel and Isaiah Harris.

In the women’s 1,500m, Stafford was drawn into a tough heat, but pushed the pace with two laps to go, separating herself from the main pack. Although Stafford was unable to hold off the 1,500m world record holder Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia, she held on to place second in her heat in 4:07.95 and qualified for the final on Saturday afternoon. 

Two other Canadian men, John Gay and Ehab El-Sandali, made their World Indoors debut in the men’s 3,000m. All three heats  were tactical as Gay and El-Sandali both lost contact with the lead pack with two laps to go. Gay had a rough start to his race, tripping over Kenya’s Jacob Krop less than a minute in. He had to play catch-up, as only the top four qualified for Sunday’s final. Gay ended up eighth in 7:57.56 and El-Sandali was 11th in 8:00.64 (competing a week after he ran at NCAA championships); neither times was enough to qualify for the final. 

Warner leads the way in the men’s heptathlon after three events. Warner is seeking his first world indoor title after coming up shy of gold in 2018. He ran a personal best of 6.68 seconds in the 60m, following it up with a seasonal best performance of 8.05 metres in the long jump. 

Damian Warner and Pierce LePage stay cool during Day 2 of the men’s decathlon in Tokyo

Warner currently leads by 58 points over Simon Ehammer of Switzerland and Ash Moloney of Australia. The next event will be the high jump, which will take place in this afternoon’s session at 2:00 p.m. E.T. 

Other notable events this afternoon:  

Women’s 3,000m (final) – Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, Julie-Anne Staehli (3:30 p.m. ET)

Check here for a complete schedule of all Canadians in action at the 2022 World Indoor Championships.