The calendar tells us it’s September. Fall is almost officially here.
But there are still many major events, world championships included, at which some of Canada’s top summer athletes will compete this month.
Here’s a look at who is competing where in the first half of the month (we’ll preview the end of September later) and what’s at stake:
ISSF Shooting World Championships – Changwon, South Korea – August 31-September 15
Canada is sending nine senior shooters to the first competition that will serve as a qualifier for Tokyo 2020. There are four Olympic spots up for grabs in each of the men’s and women’s individual events.
Representing Canada are Kimberly Britton (women’s 10m air pistol), two-time Olympian Michel Dion (men’s 50m rifle prone), Elizabeth Gustafson (women’s 10m air pistol), Allan Harding (men’s 10m air pistol), 2016 Olympian Lynda Kiejko (women’s 10m air pistol), Elizabeth Longley (women’s trap), Cindy Luk (women’s 50m rifle 3 positions, 50m rifle prone), four-time Olympian Cynthia Meyer (women’s trap), and Wynn Payne (men’s 50m rifle prone).
Fun fact: The Canadian team ranges in age from 20 (Elizabeth Longley) to 72 (Wynn Payne).
UIPM Modern Pentathlon World Championships – Mexico City, Mexico – September 6-15
No Olympic qualification on the line here, just good ole Canadian pride.
Representing Canada will be Garnett Stevens in the men’s individual event and Kelly Fitzsimmons in the women’s individual event. Stevens was a member of Team Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.
UCI Mountain Bike World Championships – Lenzerheide, Switzerland – September 5-9
While this isn’t a direct qualifier for Tokyo 2020, results achieved in the men’s and women’s cross-country events will count towards Canada’s world rankings as a nation. Those lists will be used in May 2020 to decide how many mountain bikers each country can send to Tokyo.
Competing for Canada in the women’s elite cross-country race will be 2016 World bronze medallist Emily Batty, two-time world champion and Olympic bronze medallist Catharine Pendrel, Haley Smith, Sandra Walter, Cindy Montambault, Elyse Nieuwold, and Catherine Fleury. Olympians Léandre Bouchard,and Raphaël Gagné will be joined by Andrew L’Esperance and Peter Disera in the men’s elite cross-country.
Fun fact: Emily Batty stood on the podium at the last four World Cups to finish third in this season’s overall standings.
IFSC Sport Climbing World Championships – Innsbruck, Austria – September 6-16
Two years before sport climbing makes its Olympic debut, the world’s best will face off at the biennial world championships. At Tokyo 2020, medals will be awarded for the combined rankings in bouldering, lead climbing, and sport climbing, but at the world championships, each discipline is also contested as a separate event.
Canada will be represented in the men’s events by Sean McColl, Jason Holowach, Sebastian Lazure and Lucas Uchida. Competing on the women’s side will be Becca Frangos, Bronwen Karnis, Allison Best, Alannah Yip and 16-year-old Babette Roy.
Fun fact: Sean McColl was crowned world champion in the combined event in 2009, 2012, 2014, 2016.
FIG Rhythmic Gymnastics World Championships – Sofia, Bulgaria – September 10-16
This year’s worlds are doubly important. While the top three groups will earn spots at Tokyo 2020, countries must have their group finish in the top 24 to be eligible to enter the 2019 World Championships where five more Olympic spots are up for grabs.
Competing in the Canadian group are Elizabet Belittchenko, Vanessa Panov, Anastasia Shanko, Alexandra Udachina, and Alexandra Zilyuk. Canada will be represented in the individual events by Carmen Whelan, Katherine Uchida and Sophie Crane.
Fun fact: Canada qualified for the Olympic group competition at London 2012.
FIVB Men’s Volleyball World Championship – Bulgaria/Italy – September 9-30
The last time this quadrennial event was held in 2014, Canada finished a best-ever seventh. Two years later, they were fifth at Rio 2016. Since then, a new head coach has taken the reigns. Stéphane Antiga came on board after guiding Poland to gold at home at the last world championship.
Currently ranked sixth in the world, Canada will play in Pool B. Preliminary round opponents include the Netherlands (September 12), Egypt (September 13), China (September 15), world number one Brazil (September 17), and France (September 18).
Fun fact: The new world champions will automatically advance to the World Olympic Qualification Tournament to take place in January 2019.
World Rowing Championships – Plovdiv, Bulgaria – September 9-16
Canada will have 10 crews looking to show their excellence in Olympic events.
Several of them have stood on World Cup podiums this season, including: women’s single sculler Carling Zeeman; women’s pair Caileigh Filmer and Hillary Janssens; women’s double scullers Andrea Proske and Gabrielle Smith; as well as the women’s eight crew (which will feature a mix of Olympians and gold medallists from this year’s U23 world championships).
Canada will also compete in the women’s four, the women’s lightweight double sculls, the men’s eight, the men’s pair, the men’s lightweight double sculls, and the men’s single sculls, where Trevor Jones is making his senior worlds debut after winning his second straight U23 world title.
Fun fact: Tokyo 2020 will have gender quality in Olympic rowing events for the first time ever.
FEI World Equestrian Games – Tryon, North Carolina – September 11-23
This quadrennial event is the first opportunity for countries to qualify teams for Tokyo 2020. The top six nations in each of jumping, dressage, and eventing will earn spots in the respective Olympic team events for three athlete-horse combinations.
Canadian riders nominated to compete include: Erynn Ballard, Kara Chad, Mario Deslauriers, Eric Lamaze, (jumping); Brittany Fraser-Beaulieu, Jill Irving, Megan Lane, Belinda Trussell (dressage); Hawley Bennett-Awad, Lisa Marie Fergusson, Colleen Loach, Selena O’Hanlon, Jessica Phoenix (eventing).
Fun fact: In 2010, Canada won two World Equestrian Games medals in Olympic events – individual jumping bronze by Eric Lamaze and his mount Hickstead and team eventing silver.