Aaron Brown celebrates as he wins the 200m finals at the Canadian Track and Field Olympic trials in Montreal, Sunday, June 30, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne MuschiTHE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christinne Muschi

Track and Field Trials conclude with a wave of new champions

The 2024 Bell Track & Field Trials, doubling as the Canadian National Championships, culminated in exceptional performances by Canadian athletes at the Claude-Robillard Sports Complex on Sunday.

Canadians went the distance on the final two action-packed days of competition to help determine which athletes will represent Team Canada at the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. As the competition drew to a close, it marked not just an end, but the dawn of something remarkable.

READ: Olympic Athletics Trials: Paris 2024 excitement brewing in Montreal

Brown set for fourth Olympic Games, Leduc pulls off sprint double

Aaron Brown secures his spot in Paris for his fourth Olympic Games, winning the men’s 200m final. This also marks Brown’s 12th Canadian national sprint title in his career. Brown ran a time of 20.09 seconds, a significant margin ahead of relay teammate Brendon Rodney, who finished second in 20.34s.

Brown will be the only male athlete on the Canadian track and field team in Paris who has appeared at four Olympic Games. The 32-year-old first represented Team Canada 12 years ago, competing at London 2012. Sunday’s win in Montreal was emotional for Brown, with his parents, wife and two kids cheering him on from the grandstands at Claude-Robillard.

“I’m more wise. I have a bigger purpose, which is my family. I have so much experience – I’ve been there three times. Each one is a little different, but I feel really prepared for this one,” said the two-time Olympic medallist.

Olympic champion Andre De Grasse did not enter the men’s 200m at trials, given an Athletics Canada coaches’ exemption.

Audrey Leduc had another unforgettable weekend, pulling off the women’s sprint double on Sunday. She blazed through the women’s 200m in just 22.71 seconds, securing an automatic nomination. Earlier this week, Leduc claimed the women’s 100m title, stopping the clock in 11.20 seconds.

“I did not see this coming. I was hoping to qualify for the relay and the 100 metres via the World Ranking, but I didn’t expect the 200 metres, too,” Leduc said. “I’ve done the Quebec Games and the Canada Games, and the Olympic Games is just the big thing, every four years. I’m just excited to get there, represent Canada as best I can, and run fast. On the track said, I want to qualify for the finals. On the personal side, I want to collect as many pins as I can.”

Arop and Shukla secure 800m titles

Reigning world champion Marco Arop set a Championship record in the men’s 800m semifinal with a blistering time of 1:43.53. He returned to the track on Saturday to secure an automatic nomination for Paris 2024 by meeting the Olympic standard time with a victory in 1:43.71. 

“I knew that I was capable of getting back to the Olympics this year. I’m just happy to come out of this health and have another national championship,” he said. “I don’t think the target’s on my back. The title of world champion comes with that, but there are so many guys who are so strong and fast right now.”

Jazz Shukla reached the Olympic standard in the women’s 800m final, laying down a time of 1:58.20 to claim an automatic nomination with the win.

“It’s a big relief. This whole season, I’ve been knocking on that door, hoping I would have enough points to make it. But it’s a big relief to get the standard,” Shukla said. “This is my first Olympic Trials, my first national championship win. So I definitely did not expect that, going in.

Stafford set for second Olympic Games

Lucia Stafford won her third Canadian women’s 1500m title and secured her automatic nomination to Paris on Sunday. Stafford clocked a time of 4:10.14 to win the Canadian title, over two seconds ahead of Kate Current who finished in second (4:12.62).

This will be her second consecutive Olympic Games. Three years ago, the 25-year-old was a semifinalist in the event at Tokyo 2020.

Sherar, Morales-Williams secure 400m wins

Zoe Sherar secured a big win in the women’s 400m final, clocking in with a time of 51.25 seconds. 

“It’s really amazing. This is so surreal. I want to enjoy the moment, be present and be where my feet are. So it’s amazing to see the hard work pay off,” Sherar said. “I’m just going to soak up the moments. It will be cool to be in my first individual event, then we’re going to have a wicked relay team.”

Christopher Morales Williams, a breakout star in men’s 400m, continued his winning ways by clocking a gold medal time of 45.44 to earn automatic nomination to the Canadian Olympic Team.

“I can’t believe it’s happening. It’s nice to just be living the dream,” he said. “I’m still the underdog. Although I run the fastest times, I’m only 19, at the end of the day.

Dreams come true for Abdul-Rashid in 100m hurdles

Mariam Abdul-Rashid sealed her Olympic nomination, winning the women’s 100m hurdles with a time of 12.83s

“This is everything. I’ve been dreaming of this since I was six years old. I knew that if I executed, I could make it happen and it happened tonight,” she said. “I knew that I needed to run hard and aggressive and intentional from one to ten. I don’t always do that, but I did it tonight.”

Stay tuned for the official announcement of the complete Olympic athletics team in the upcoming days.