A historic first in Canadian sport was the highlight of the weekend thanks to the country’s rugged rugby-playing men, with athletes also excelling in golf, swimming, track cycling and tennis.
First the historic achievement…
Singapore was the host for a North American final between Canada and United States in the latest World Rugby Sevens Series tournament, and the red and white overcame years of blues beating USA 26-19 for the cup. It’s the first time that Canada has won the title in the prestigious Sevens Series, and they did it with impressive victories over powerhouse sides New Zealand (quarterfinals) and England (semifinals) before upsetting the Americans.
The men fell short of inaugural Olympic qualifying last year, and watched Canada’s rugby women bring home Rio 2016 bronze. For the men, the Singapore Sevens title marks a significant achievement after years of terrific, but inconsistent results.
Olympians put in some work on the greens with top-12 results over the weekend. Alena Sharp was fifth in the LPGA’s Lotte Championship stop in Oahu, Hawaii. Finding her groove among the palm trees and Pacific breeze, Sharp (-16) finished four shots behind Christie Kerr of the United States. Sharp’s fellow Team Canada Olympic teammate from Rio, Brooke Henderson, tied for 11th – five shots behind her compatriot.
Graham DeLaet’s flirtation with the title at PGA’s RBC Heritage Classic fell short on Sunday, derailed by a triple bogey on the eighth hole in round four. American Wesley Bryan took the trophy at Hilton Head, South Carolina at 13-under-par, three shots ahead of sixth place DeLaet.
Emerging young talent Mary-Sophie Harvey won the 400-metre individual medley at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Mesa, Arizona on Saturday, touching the wall in four minutes, 38.05 seconds, ahead of five time American Olympic champion Katie Ledecky (4:38.16). Ledecky – a freestyle specialist – won four gold medals at Rio 2016, adding to her single from London 2012. Harvey, 17, broke two Canadian short course records in Toronto this past winter, including one in the 400 IM.
No medals for Canada this year at the UCI Track World Championships in Hong Kong, however, Kate O’Brien and Amelia Walsh gave Canada fifth place in women’s team sprint, a best-ever Canadian result in this category.
Two Canadians battled for the title in an ITF Futures tourney in Little Rock, Arkansas on Sunday, with Brayden Schnur topping Philip Bester 7-6(4), 6-1. It’s Schnur’s fourth title at this level.