The Canadian Olympic track and field trials are set to begin in just one week, and for many athletes, this will be their last shot at qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics. Due to travel complications resulting from COVID-19, Athletics Canada announced earlier this year that it was no longer mandatory for athletes to compete at the trials if they wanted a spot on the team, but despite this, many of our country’s top athletes will still be toeing the line in Montreal on June 25. Here’s who to watch out for next weekend.
Canada’s top sprinter, Andre De Grasse, won’t be in attendance, but other big names like Aaron Brown, Gavin Smellie and Jerome Blake will be competing in the 100m and 200m. Brown is the only one in the group who has already achieved standard in both events.
Women to watch are Crystal Emmanuel and Khamica Bingham. So far, Emmanuel is the only one who has run an Olympic-qualifying time, running 22.65 in the 200m.
The women’s 800m is sure to be an exciting race to watch, as it will feature three of our top Canadians: Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, Madeleine Kelly and Lindsey Butterworth. Bishop-Nriagu has already achieved standard, but both Kelly and Butterworth are less than one second off the Olympic qualifying time of 1:59.50. Both women will no doubt be looking to run a fast time and punch their ticket to Tokyo.
Lucia Stafford will be the one to watch in the women’s 1,500m, as she is less than one second away from running the 4:04.20 Olympic standard. Julie-Anne Staehli, who has already qualified in the 5,000m, will also be on the start line with Stafford.
On the men’s side, Charles Philibert-Thiboutot will be toeing the line, and while his best time of 3:37.08 puts him a touch over two seconds off the Olympic standard of 3:35.00, the time is within his reach.
There will be no women’s 5,000m at this year’s trials, but Luc Bruchet and Ben Flanagan will be competing on the men’s side. Bruchet ran under the Olympic standard last weekend with a massive PB of 13:12.56, but Flanagan will have some ground to make up if he hopes to do the same, as he’s going into the race with a PB of 13:25.39.
Decathlete Damian Warner will be the athlete to watch in the 110m hurdles, and Noelle Montcalm, who was four spots out of the Olympic quota as of June 2, will be competing in the 400m hurdles.
Genvieve Lalonde and Reegan Yee will both line up for the 3,000m steeplechase, and while Lalonde is the only one to have run the Olympic standard, Yee is still within the Olympic quota and may still have a shot at being named to the team.
The Olympic and Paralympic trials are set to run from June 25 to 27, and while there will be no spectators permitted at the meet, Canadians will be able to follow the action from home via a live stream on athleticscanada.tv.