The world’s top track and field athletes are in Eugene, Ore., for the Prefontaine Classic, which will also serve as the 2023 Diamond League final, on Sept. 16 and17. Canada’s Marco Arop, Andre De Grasse, Aaron Brown and Sarah Mitton all hope to etch their names in history as the first Canadian athlete to win a Diamond League final. Leading the charge is Arop, who will be aiming to shatter the Canadian record of 1:43.20 at the historic Hayward Field.
Fresh from his 800m personal best of 1:43.24 at the Xiamen Diamond League in China, Arop is riding high after securing world championship gold in Budapest. This season, Arop has been unstoppable, clinching national and world titles in the 800m and posting three sub-1:44 times in the Diamond League.
The 24-year-old sensation from Edmonton has come tantalizingly close to his former NCAA teammate Brandon McBride’s Canadian record of 1:43.20, missing it by a mere tenth of a second on three occasions. Navasky Anderson, another Mississippi State University teammate, will set the pace for Arop at the Pre Classic, targeting a 400m split of 49.2 to 49.5 seconds. Arop’s ambition: to win not only the Diamond League title, but in a new Canadian record time.
Arop’s path to victory won’t be a cakewalk, as four of the men from the world championship final, including silver medallist Emmanuel Wanyonyi of Kenya, will also be in the race. Wanyonyi bested Arop in Xiamen with a world-leading time of 1:43.20. The men’s 800m at the Diamond League final kicks off on Sunday at around 3 p.m. ET.
Canada’s De Grasse and Brown in men’s 200m
De Grasse and Brown are heading to Eugene fresh off season’s best performances in the men’s 200m at the Brussels Diamond League last week. Both athletes said their post-world-championship goal was to finish the season on a high note, and to carry that momentum into the next year. Their impressive sub-20 clockings in Brussels have brought them new confidence for a spot on the Diamond League podium in Eugene. With world champion Noah Lyles competing in the 100m, an opportunity arises for De Grasse and Brown to challenge world championship medallists Letsile Tebogo of Botswana and Erriyon Knighton of the U.S. for the title.
De Grasse will be looking to improve on his season’s best performance of 19.89 seconds, and secure the first Diamond League title of his career. The men’s 200m will be the penultimate event of the Diamond League final, taking place on Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. ET.
How to watch
You can catch all the track and field action from the Diamond League Final from Eugene, Ore., online on CBC Sports and CBC Gem, starting at 3:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, Sept. 16 and Sunday, Sept. 17.