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Regan Yee runs Canadian steeplechase record, Olympic standard in last-chance qualifier race

Canadians Yee and Crystal Emmanuel both booked their tickets to Tokyo at the last minute on Tuesday in Montreal

Photo by: Bernard Brault/Athletics Canada

Regan Yee ran a Canadian record in the 3,000m steeplechase on Tuesday night at the Classique D’athlétisme de Montréal, posting an Olympic-qualifying time of 9:27.54. Yee’s result was well under the 9:30.00 Olympic standard, and it beat Geneviève Lalonde‘s previous national record of 9:29.82 by two seconds. Tuesday marked the end of the qualification period for the Tokyo Games, and entering the event, Yee had yet to run Olympic standard. Her big win secures her a spot on Team Canada. Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel also put the Montreal meet to good use, running Olympic standard in the 100m and booking her ticket on another start line at the Summer Games (she had already qualified in the 200m).

Yee’s national record 

On June 25, Yee ran one of the best races of her life, winning the 3,000m steeplechase at the Canadian Olympic Trials, which also took place in Montreal. She ran 9:31.46 at that race (narrowly missing her PB of 9:31.07) to beat Alycia Butterworth (who finished in second in 9:32.40) and Lalonde (who crossed the line in third in 9:32.68). Despite the fact that she won the Canadian title, this result failed to qualify Yee for the Tokyo Games, so she had to race again. With the Olympic qualification window closing on Tuesday, the Classique d’athlétisme de Montréal was her final chance to make it to Tokyo.

Yee celebrates after winning the 3,000m steeplechase at the Canadian Olympic Trials.

She took advantage of the race, flying away from the rest of the field and hammering toward a new PB, an Olympic-qualifying time and a new Canadian record. Yee represented Canada at the 2019 World Championships, but she has not yet competed at the Olympics. She will be joined by Lalonde, who hit Olympic standard in 2019, just after the Tokyo qualification window opened, when she ran her PB of 9:29.82. This will be Lalonde’s second appearance at the Olympics, as she raced in Rio, where she finished 16th. 

RELATED: John Gay snags Canadian steeple title and Olympic standard

Emmanuel’s qualifying run 

Going into Tuesday’s meet in Montreal, Emmanuel had less stress than some athletes, as she had already qualified for the Olympic 200m, an event in which she owns the Canadian record with a time of 22.50 seconds. Olympic standard in the women’s 200m is 22.80, a time that Emmanuel hit at the 2019 world championships (where she ran 22.65). She had yet to run the 100m standard of 11.15 seconds, although she had come close on multiple occasions throughout the qualification window, including a 11.18-second run at the Canadian Olympic Trials on June 26. This time won her the national title, but it wasn’t guaranteed to earn her a spot in the event in Tokyo. 

Like Yee, Emmanuel took advantage of her final qualification opportunity, and she powered to an 11.11 finish in Montreal, beating the Olympic standard and matching her PB from 2018. (Emmanuel ran 11.03 seconds at a race in 2019, but it was wind-aided and therefore doesn’t count as her official PB.) Yee and Emmanuel were the only athletes at the Classique d’athlétisme de Montréal to hit Olympic standard in their events. 

RELATED: Olympic standards, world records during Canadian and U.S. trials

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