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Athletics Canada – Mohammed Ahmed told himself he had to go for it and did he ever, earning the bronze medal in the men’s 5,000-metre final on Day 4 of the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championships.

Fast-paced from the very start, the Canadian duo of Justyn Knight and the Canadian record-holder Ahmed knew they had to battle. With two laps to go, Ahmed made his move, running to lead the pack, but on the final lap he dropped to fifth place. At that moment, Ahmed went all in.

“I told myself ‘I am not going to be denied’,” said Ahmed. “I gave it everything I could. Third is as good as first when it’s your first time. I’m just really happy about that.”

He clawed his way back down the backstretch, edging out Ethiopia’s Telahun Haille Bekele to break up what would have been an Ethiopian sweep on the podium. Ahmed would finish in a time of 13:01.11, but with the third place finish solidified, he’s just glad that he took advantage of the opportunity.

“I said to myself, “Don’t let this opportunity get away from you,” I stuck to the plan, get to the front at some point and be the driver, not the passenger,” said Ahmed.

Although not the race that he planned, Knight is proud of how he executed, finishing with a time of 13:26.63 to finish in tenth place. “I am proud of the way I finished and didn’t give up and I was able to finish strong.”

In the sprints, Canada will have two athletes competing in the men’s 200-metre final for the first time ever. Similar to the 100-metre finals, Aaron Brown and Andre De Grasse will line up in the blocks on Tuesday night to contest for the title following another strong semi-final round.

After Brown got things started in Heat 1, sprinting around the corner to a time of 20.20 to book his ticket into tomorrow night’s final, De Grasse cruised confidently passed the finish line to join his countryman. Getting out to a strong start, the already world bronze medallist De Grasse fought his way to the front of the field to win Heat 3 and qualify for the final with a time of 20.08. Brendon Rodney rounded out the Canadian trio in the semi-finals, stopping the clock at 20.38, but just missed out on the final by 0.1 seconds.

“It was good off the curve, my transition off was not good and that’s when Adam Gemili pulled away,” said Brown. “I didn’t execute the race I wanted to but luckily making it through to the finals. I can never take that for granted and another opportunity to make it better tomorrow.”

Motivated after failing to qualify for the women’s 100-metre finals last night, Crystal Emmanuel stepped back onto the track for the 200-metre qualifying heats. Running in Lane 8, Emmanuel exploded out of the blocks and around the curve before carrying her speed through the line to complete the race in 23 seconds flat. The time would hold up and qualify her into the semi-finals tomorrow.

“It was rough, but I’m hanging in there,” said Emmanuel. “I’ll take what I can get and see what I can do.”

Day 4 got started when co-captain Liz Gleadle took to the javelin runway, in hopes of qualifying for the women’s javelin final tomorrow. With a first throw of 57.35 metres, she would gradually improve her throw to 59.22 metres and finally 60.17 metres with her third and final throw.

Although unable to qualify for the next round, Gleadle will continue to work and prepare as her sights move onto the Olympic Games in Tokyo less than a year away.

“I’m disappointed considering I was ready but I did everything right,” said Gleadle. “Technically I had a really good third throw, I just didn’t have that extra bit to give it that power. After a couple of weeks off, I’ll get back to training again.”

In the women’s 400-metre heats, Aiyanna-Bridgette Stiverne and Madeline Price looked to take their Canadian record performance from the mixed 4×400-metre race into their individual events. 

Stiverne was up first in Heat 3, completing the lap around the track in a time of 52.02, while Price followed suite with a time of 52.24 in Heat 6. Neither would qualify for the semifinals but both are looking forward to the women’s 4×400-metre relays, starting on Saturday.

“Being at my first Word Championships, it’s an honour. It’s super exciting to be here but wanted more than to just be here, wanted that semi-final but I’m learning from it. There’s more to come in the women’s 4×400-metre relays, using that energy, I know we can make that final.”

Next up for Canada, Philip Osei will kick off Day 5 in the men’s 400-metre heats while high jump duo Michael Mason and Django Lovett look to qualify into the men’s high jump final. Sage Watson will get her World Championships underway in the 400-metre hurdles before Matthew Hughes leads John Gay and Ryan Smeeton into their first World Championship 3000-metre steeplechase race. Finals action will feature Marco Arop in the men’s 800-metres before Aaron Brown and Andre De Grasse close out the night in the 200-metre final.

– AC –