By Tori Taylor, October 21 2019 —
The World Athletic Championships in Qatar wrapped up with a very strong presence from Canadian athletes. Canada recorded five podium finishes — the highest podium count for Canada since Beijing 2015, where the tally came in at eight. This is a huge comeback from two years ago at the World Summit in London, where Team Canada did not succeed in winning any medals. The Canadian track and field team conquered a significantly better rank this year in Doha.
The first Canadian medal was won by Evan Dunfee from Nelson, B.C. He is an integral part of the Canadian track team because of his consistency and reliable athletic deliverance. Dunfee placed third in the 50 kilometre race walk and did not disappoint as he dug deep and pushed through in the latter half of the race
Andre De Grasse placed second in the 200 metre race. This was not his best time but he still found himself on the podium and did not let the stifling heat or humidity get the best of him.
Strong commitment and a stead-fast competitive nature are always necessary for higher level athletic competitions. Canada has always been a solid representation of this in the sprinting events. However Dunfee displayed how well-rounded Canada’s team is with his bronze medal for a distance event.
Canada is not only showing up in headlines for track, middle distance and long distance events. The team offers up more than one medal contenders for field events, as well.
Damian Warner finished first in the men’s 100 metre decathlon. And Pierce LePage was hot on his heels with a second place win. Both Canadian athletes delivered a strong performance despite the overwhelming weather conditions.
As the strength of the Canadian track and field team picks up momentum towards the Tokyo Olympics that is quickly approaching— it is worth noting the passionate dedication and motivation brought forward by Simon Nathan. Nathan is the High Performance Director at Athletics Canada, and has past experience as a performance team manager for Athletics Australia and UK Athletics. He moved to Canada to establish a deeply routed track and field program that could bring home victories at all the major international meets they attended.
“The culture we’re trying to build is a belief in every athlete on our team that they can win,” said Nathan to CBC during the World Championships. “The sport is healthy in a country when at the top level you have two or three competitive people in every event. I want a healthy atmosphere of competition and sport pressure to come to bear on our best athletes. Our stars have to be nervous the day before they compete at our national championships because someone will challenge them.”
Not only did the Canadian team take home five medals, they also saw 17 athletes qualify to compete in the finals — including marathon, race walking and longer distance events. Out of only 29 Canadian athletes, this volume of competitively ranked finalists is a truly exciting foreshadowing for Tokyo 2020.