The 2017 IAAF World Championships are almost underway and Athletics Canada’s team is ready continue their international success at the home stadium of London 2012.
At the last world championships in Beijing, Canadians brought home a record-setting eight medals, surpassing the nation’s previous largest haul of five in 2013. This year, five of Canada’s individual 2015 world medallists and a bronze medal relay team will look to earn a spot on the podium once again from August 4 to 13.
Damian Warner, the reigning decathlon world silver medallist will be on everyone’s radar in London. With the retirement of the world record holder Ashton Eaton, the top of the podium is more attainable than ever before.
The men’s 4x100m relay team that brought home bronze from Rio 2016 is hungry another international podium. After a bad exchange ended their quest for a medal at the IAAF World Relays in April, the crew will be looking for redemption. However, the relay pool – Aaron Brown, Brendon Rodney, Akeem Haynes, Bolade Ajomale and Gavin Smellie – will be missing a key player, three-time Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse.
De Grasse was forced to drop out of this year’s world meeting on Wednesday – just two days before the 100m heats – due to a hamstring tear. This was saddening news for many athletics fans, who looked forward to De Grasse taking on Usain Bolt at the Jamaican legend’s final competition.
Unfortunately, this season has also not been good on the injury front for high jump world champion Derek Drouin, who has been battling an Achilles tendon issue. However, after watching Drouin clinch an Olympic title while competing with a back fracture in Rio, fans can’t count him out at worlds.
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Reigning world pole vault champion Shawn Barber will look to have his season’s breakthrough at worlds. Despite being ranked outside of the top 10 this year, clearing his personal best would put him atop the IAAF rankings for 2017. World silver medallist Melissa Bishop will head into London fresh off setting a new 800m Canadian record. With one of the event’s strongest fields to date lining up at worlds, an intense competition is on the horizon. Ben Thorne will also have his eyes set on returning to the world podium in the 20km race walk after finishing third in 2015.
In addition to defending world medallists, Rio 2016 standouts Evan Dunfee (50km race walk) and Mohammed Ahmed (10,000m and 5000m) will be hungry for hardware after finishing fourth at the Olympic Games. Long jumper Christabel Nettey has her eyes set on her first world podium, as she heads into London third on the IAAF rankings.