Weekend Roundup: De Grasse back on top at Diamond League Final, Canada wins second straight FIBA 3×3 title
It was quite the winning weekend for Team Canada athletes. Andre De Grasse saved his best for last, stunning the 200m field at the Diamond League Final to become Canada’s first trophy winner since 2011. Meanwhile, Marco Arop finally put his name on the national record in the 800m.
A clutch buzzer beater secured Canada its second consecutive title at the FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series Final and an underdog team ensured the reigning champions would continue their title defense in the next round of the Davis Cup Finals.
Here’s a quick look back at what happened:
Athletics: Three medals for Canada at Diamond League Final
Andre De Grasse made sure that everyone knows he can never be counted out. At the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, he won the men’s 200m in a season’s best time of 19.76 seconds. The meet was also the Diamond League Final, making De Grasse Canada’s first Diamond League Trophy winner since 2011.
It is the first Diamond League title for the reigning Olympic champion in the event. Fellow Canadian Aaron Brown finished in sixth place with a time of 20.23 seconds.
“It’s been a challenging season, but I gotta finish strong, give it my best I got, and try to come away with something I can learn going into next year. Next year’s a big year obviously with the Olympics, so I wanted to try to just give it all to try to see where I’m at going into next season,” said De Grasse.
In the men’s 800m, recently crowned world champion Marco Arop became the first Canadian man to ever break the 1:43 mark. He ran a national record 1:42.85 to finish second behind Kenya’s Emmanuel Wanyonyi by just 0.05.
On Saturday, Sarah Mitton capped off her incredible shot put season with a silver medal. Her best throw of the day hit 19.94 metres, just 14 cm off her season best distance, which she achieved in winning silver at the World Athletics Championships in August.
Basketball: Canada beats France for second straight FIBA 3×3 title
The Canadian women’s 3×3 basketball team topped France 16-15 at the FIBA 3×3 Women’s Series Final in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on Sunday. Michelle Plouffe, Katherine Plouffe, Paige Crozon and Kacie Bosch entered the weekend as the No. 1 seed after Canada had won five stops this season. They went undefeated throughout the final tournament, finishing with a 5-0 record.
Serving as a rematch of the 2022 Final, the championship game came down to the wire. With just seven seconds remaining, France tied it at 15. Katherine Plouffe then found Crozon just under the basket, from where she was able to secure Canada’s sixth tournament victory of the season with no time remaining on the clock.
Michelle Plouffe was named tournament MVP, despite being sidelined for much of the final game with an injury. The world’s top-ranked player recorded 33 points and had the highest Player-Value score in Ulaanbaatar.
Tennis: Defending Davis Cup champs into Final 8
Canada has secured its spot in the knockout round of the Davis Cup Finals after defeating Italy, Sweden, and Chile to go 3-0 and top their group in Bologna, Italy. That is thanks to some standout play by Alexis Galarneau and Gabriel Diallo, who stepped up in the absence of star players Denis Shapovalov and Félix Auger-Aliassime, who have both been troubled with injuries.
It all started on Wednesday, when Galarneau and Diallo each won their singles matches against Italy, upsetting players ranked 38th (Lorenzo Sonego) and 18th (Lorenzo Musetti) in the world, respectively. Galarneau then teamed with veteran Vasek Pospisil, affectionately nicknamed “Mr. Davis Cup”, to win the doubles match. That was followed by a 3-0 sweep of Sweden on Thursday.
The Canadians faced a crucial challenge against Chile in their final group stage tie on Saturday. Galarneau, ranked 200th in the world, took down Alejandro Tabilo in straight sets. Earning Canada’s seventh match win, that was enough to secure Canada’s advancement to the knockout stage in Malaga, Spain in late November. After Diallo lost to 22nd-ranked Nicolas Jarry, Galarneau and Pospisil closed out the tie with a 6-3, 7-6(9-7) win in doubles.
Table Tennis: Canada qualifies men’s team for Paris 2024
Canada won silver in the men’s team event at the 2023 ITTF Pan American Championships in Havana, Cuba — which has secured Olympic qualification in the event for Paris 2024. Olympic spots were awarded to the top two teams of each gender. Brazil won the gold medal in the men’s event. The United States and Brazil took the top two spots in the women’s team event.
Canada was represented by three-time Olympian Eugene Wang, along with Edward Ly and Siméon Martin. Canada last qualified for an Olympic team event at London 2012, which is where Wang made his Olympic debut.
“It feels amazing,” said coach Maxime Surprenant. “We all came together towards one objective, our guys were able to put all the distractions aside and keep the focus on that objective. We are all very proud of what we accomplished as a group. It was a tough week but we made it happen.”
Canada defeated Cuba 3-2 in the quarterfinals, advancing them into the final four, which was held in a round robin format. While Brazil won all three of its contests to secure the gold medal, Canada, Chile, and Puerto Rico were all 1-2. Canada’s 3-0 win over Puerto Rico and a tight 3-2 loss to Chile meant they ended up ranked second.
Judo: Deguchi leads Canadian domination in Calgary
Canada won eight medals at the 2023 Pan American-Oceania Championships in Calgary, including four gold medals. In the women’s 57kg event, world number one Christa Deguchi won the gold medal while second-ranked Jessica Klimkait grabbed a bronze medal. Deguchi — who was injured last month — defeated Brazilian Rafaela Silva, the 2016 Olympic champion, just 30 seconds into the final.
“Just ten days ago, I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to compete, so this is a great outcome! I really wanted to fight here at home, and I’m very happy to have finished at the top of the podium. It wasn’t perfect, but I got to show the younger athletes that it’s possible to reach this level and to win international medals in Canada,” concluded Deguchi.
On the men’s side, Julien Frascadore topped the 66kg event, François Gauthier Drapeau was victorious at 81kg, and Shady Elnahas won the 100kg event.
Figure Skating: Canadians win over world pairs champions
The international figure skating season is underway with ISU Challenger Series events. Canadians won five medals at the Autumn Classic International in Pierrefonds, Quebec over the weekend.
The headliners were Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps, who broke the 200-point mark for the first time in their careers to win the pairs gold medal. They finished first in both the short program and free skate, totalling 203.62 points as they defeated the reigning world champions Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara of Japan by more than 15 points. Fellow Canadians Emmanuelle Proft and Nicolas Nadeau took the bronze.
Canada also had a double podium in the women’s event as Kaiya Ruiter and Justine Miclette won silver and bronze behind two-time reigning world champion Kaori Sakamoto of Japan. Stephen Gogolev grabbed bronze in the men’s event which was won by American Ilia Malinin.