5 Team Canada sports to watch this weekend: September 8-10
There’s lots to look out for this weekend, with Team Canada athletes in action all over the world.
Team Canada’s men’s basketball team continue their quest at the FIBA World Cup in what has been a thrilling tournament thus far.
Canada’s rowers are competing against the top talent in the world at the 2023 World Rowing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, as they try to confirm spots for Paris 2024. Canada’s weightlifters also have Olympic qualification on their minds as they compete at the IWF World Weightlifting Championships in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
There’s athletics action in Brussels, with several top Canadian athletes competing at the Allianz Memorial Van Damme Diamond League meet. And there’s also excitement at home, with two UCI World Tour events will take place in Quebec this weekend.
Here’s what you don’t want to miss:
The Canadian men’s basketball team is putting up one incredible performance after another at the FIBA 2023 World Cup in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. Despite an early Friday morning defeat, the Canadians could make history on Sunday.
The team secured qualification for the Olympic Games last weekend with an 88-85 victory over Spain, making Canada one of the top two teams in the Americas region. This is the first time in 23 years that Canada has secured a place in the Olympic men’s basketball tournament. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was a major asset to Team Canada during the tournament, averaging 25 points per game over the last six games.
With a 100-89 victory over Slovenia on Wednesday, Team Canada qualified for the semi-finals of the tournament for the first time in its history, before losing early Friday morning to Serbia by a score of 95-86.
The Canadians will still have the opportunity to make history, however, as they play for bronze on Sunday, and could win Canada’s first FIBA World Cup medal in history.
The match takes place at 4:30 a.m. Eastern time, but given the team’s performance so far in the tournament, we’re sure many fans will be setting their clocks to rise before the sun.
The 2023 World Rowing Championships are on right now on Sava Lake in Belgrade, Serbia. Team Canada is represented by 39 rowers covering 10 boat classes. The World Championships are the first opportunity to qualify boats for Paris 2024.
In the men’s and women’s eight, only the top five nations will qualify for Paris, whereas in some events, like the men’s and women’s coxless pair, the top eleven boats will qualify.
Jill Moffatt and Jenny Casson were the first members of Team Canada to qualify a boat for the Olympics at the regatta. The pair won their semifinal race in the lightweight women’s double to secure their spot in the final and a quota spot for Rowing Canada at the Olympics. They will race in the A final on Saturday and try to add some hardware to what is already a successful regatta for them.
The Canadian men’s and women’s eights were on the start line in the repechages early Friday morning, with the men’s eight moving on to the B final and the women’s eight moving on to the A final, still in the hunt for Olympic qualification. The finals will take on Sunday.
Canada’s boats in the women’s quadruple sculls and women’s quadruple sculls will compete in the B finals on Saturday. A win in the B final, and a seventh-place overall finish, would put Canada in the running for Olympic qualification quotas.
While the World Championships are over, some of Canada’s top track and field athletes aren’t quite finished for the season and will compete at the Allianz Memorial Van Damme Diamond League meet in Brussels, Belgium.
Fresh off of her silver medal performance (and team captain duties!) at the World Championships, Sarah Mitton captured another silver in Brussels.
On Friday, two of Canada’s top sprinters, Andre De Grasse and Aaron Brown, will race the 200m. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot will face a stacked field in the men’s 2000m, a seldom-contested race distance.
The IWF World Weightlifting Championships kicked off on Monday and run until September 17 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Among the Canadian athletes who will be in action in weight categories included in the Olympic program are Alex Bellemarre in the men’s 89 kg category, Alexis Ashworth in the women’s 71 kg category, Boady Santavy in the men’s 96 kg event on September 13, as well as Rosalie Dumas and Maya Céleste Laylor, in the women’s under 81 kg event. Bellemarre will compete on September 11, Ashworth and Santavy on September 13, and Dumas and Laylor on September 15.
These Canadian weightlifters will be looking for strong results to help them climb the IWF Olympic Qualification Ranking, which will be used to determine the allocation of Olympic qualification quota places. The top 10 athletes on this ranking as of April 28, 2024 in each weight category will qualify for the Games.
Results from the 2022 and 2023 Senior World Championships, the 2023 and 2024 Senior Continental Championships/Games, Stages I and II of the 2023 IWF Grand Prix and the 2024 IWF World Cup will also be taken into account in the Olympic qualification ranking.
Reigning Olympic champion Maude Charron will not be taking part in this international event, as she is nursing a torn quadricep tendon in her knee. Crowned champion in the 64kg category in Tokyo, the 30-year-old weightlifter has switched to the 59kg category with a view to the Paris 2024 Games, since her former weight class has been withdrawn from the Olympic program. However, since the Worlds are a mandatory competition to qualify for Paris 2024, Charron is still present in Riyadh where she is due to take part in the weigh-in.
Two UCI World Tour events will take place in Quebec this weekend. On Friday, the streets of Quebec City will be the scene of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec, then on Sunday, cyclists will take to the streets of the city for the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal.
Canadian members of the Israël Premier Teck professional team Hugo Houle, Guillaume Boivin, Derek Gee and Michael Woods will be at the start of the races. After a well-deserved rest after the conclusion of the 2023 Tour de France, Houle, who won a stage in 2022, put in a fine performance last Sunday to take third place in the Maryland Cycling Classic in Baltimore. Woods is aiming for a podium finish in Quebec this year, on the strength of his victory in the ninth stage of the Grande Boucle last July.
Cycling Canada will field a development team comprised of Pier-André Côté, Quentin Cowen, Julien Matisse, Nicolas Rivard, Félix Hamel, Robin Plamondon and Benjamin Perry.
The course in Old Quebec should highlight the climbing skills of those accustomed to steep slopes, while in Montreal, cyclists will climb Mount Royal 18 times making for a race as demanding as it is spectacular.