Day Seven at the World Athletics Championships from Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. brought highs and lows for Team Canada. Middle-distance star Marco Arop cruised to a 1:45.12 in semi-final three of the men’s 800m, earning him a spot in Saturday’s final, while Aaron Brown left the track in disappointment, coming short of a medal in the men’s 200m.
Arop ran smart on the first lap, hanging back and letting others do the work. “I kept telling myself to stay patient early on,” Arop says. “Once I saw an opening with 300m to go, I took it and closed hard to finish top two.”
Slimane Moula of Algeria won Arop’s semi-final in 1:44.89, which was the fastest time into the final. “I expected Moula to come charging at the end but I was happy to see it was just him,” Arop says.
“The goal was to get into the final,” he says. “Now, it’s time to recover and get myself prepared for Saturday night.”
Brown struggles in the final 50 metres as Team USA sweeps the 200m final
In his fifth straight major championship final, Brown got out of the blocks great and found himself in second or third position down the home straight. But with 50 metres to go, he tied up and fell back to seventh, finishing in 20.18 seconds.
“I felt it in the legs my last 50,” says Brown. “I saw Joseph Fahnbulleh and Noah Lyles running well off the bend and realized I wasn’t there.”
“I am disappointed and hurt, but it’s all part of the game,” says Brown. “Sometimes things don’t turn your way, but I still have that hunger for that individual medal.”
Lyles won the men’s 200m, defending his 2019 world title. He won the race in an American record time of 19.31 seconds, which is the third fastest of all time. Kenny Bednarek and 18-year-old phenom Erriyon Knighton were second and third in 19.77 and 19.80 to complete the American sweep of the podium.
When asked if he felt defeated about his seventh-place finish, he said: “If I was defeated, I would’ve hung it up a long time ago. I will bounce back. I am already looking forward to running the 4x100m relay with the boys tomorrow evening.”
Canada’s Butterworth cuts it close but qualifies for women’s 800m semi-final
Lindsey Butterworth of Burnaby, B.C. was one of three Canadians who competed in the heats of the women’s 800m on Thursday evening. Butterworth was the lone Canadian to qualify for the semi-final with the fastest time outside of the automatic qualifiers.
Butterworth just missed out on an automatic spot in heat 1, finishing fourth in 2:00.80. She watched the subsequent heats on the monitors in the mixed zone, patiently and nervously, before moving through as the fastest non-automatic qualifier.
Canada’s Madeleine Kelly and Addy Townsend did not make it out of the heats, finishing sixth and seventh, respectively.
“I feel I can run 1:59 or 2-flat on any given race now,” says Butterworth. “I feel OK after this, and know I am capable of running a faster time.”
She will compete in heat one of tomorrow’s semi-final, scheduled for 9:35 p.m. E.T.
Moh Ahmed qualifies for 5,000m final
The Olympic 5,000m silver medallist, Moh Ahmed, set the pace early to set himself up with a fast time and a qualifying spot in Saturday’s final.
Ahmed led the race through 2,000m, then shifted to cruise control, coming across the line in fifth in 13:15.17. “I knew if I set a fast pace early, it would take out some of the guys on the bubble from the first heat,” says Ahmed. “Today was a tempo effort. I am looking forward to Saturday’s final.”
The 2022 World Athletics Championships are taking place from July 15-25 from Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. All the action will be brought to you by Canadian Running and Asics Canada. Follow us on Twitter on Instagram for all things Team Canada and up-to-date exclusive news and content.