Sexton and Lovett challenge the world, shine on Day 4🇨🇦
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As we reached Day 4 of the World Athletics Championship and Oregon entered the first day of a heatwave, Canada’s veterans showed their savvy and placed among the world’s best despite the temperature. The day started with Leslie Sexton running a near-personal best in the women’s marathon and finishing 13th, and ended with Canada’s entire delegation cheering for Django Lovett in the high jump. Below are the three stories that breathed life into Monday’s lineup.
SEXTON COMES 13TH IN THE MARATHON IN FIRST WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
It was a second consecutive marathon morning in Eugene, with the women this time taking to the streets. Canada fielded a trio of first-time World Championship competitors, and all three managed to crack the top 30.
Leslie Sexton set the tone for Team Canada, racing to a season’s best of 2:28:52, which placed her 13th overall. It was her second time running under 2:30, and one of the best-ever marathon finishes by a Canadian at Worlds.
“It went as well as it could have,” said Sexton, who picked up the pace at the 26th kilometre to inject some pace in the chase group, picking up a negative split and missing her PB by just 17 seconds. It’s all you could ask for a championship – that’s exactly how I wanted to execute it.”
Sexton has now improved in the marathon by more than 22 minutes in eight years, going from a 2:50 to a 2:28 since 2014.
“Don’t quit on yourself, be too stubborn to give up. It pays off eventually.”
Behind Sexton were Kinsey Middleton and Elissa Legault, who posted finish times of 2:32:56 for 26th overall, and 2:37:35 –for 27th overall, respectively.
LOVETT FLIRTS WITH A PB, FINISHES SIXTH IN MEN’S HIGH JUMP
Django Lovett missed no jumps in his qualifying round last week, comfortably tying his season’s best of 2.28 metres and automatically qualifying for the final. A rested Lovett came back to the high jump runway for today’s final.
On Monday, he was perfect again over 2.24 metres, and then sailed over the 2.27 mark. But the next bar, standing at 2.30 metres, two centimetres higher than his personal best height, proved too challenging to clear. The co-captain ranked sixth at the end of the competition – the best placing at a World or Olympic championship of his career.
“I felt I belonged out there. I just need to clean things up to get to that next level,” he told reporters after the competition.
“I have so much support,” adding that his mother had made the drive from Langley, B.C. to cheer him on. “Everyone is working together and preparing me for something great. I don’t think we saw it tonight but I know it’s out there.”
BLAKE AND BROWN NEAR THE TOP IN 200M HEATS, QUALIFY FOR SEMIS
Jerome Blake opened the afternoon session with a third-place finish in heat one of the 200m preliminary round, automatically qualifying for the semi-final with a time of 20.30 seconds.
Aaron Brown followed in heat two, and dealt with a mishap out of the blocks. The three-time Olympian who finished eighth in the 100m earlier in the competition stumbled out of the blocks as they slid back behind him. The official called back the race, giving Brown another crack at a clean start. He did not waste his chance – he finished second in the heat in a time 20.35, also qualifying for the semi.
“The blocks slipped back, I’m not sure how,” he said, adding that it gave him a slight leg cramp. “I just had to focus on myself and make sure I got through this round. And then my trainers will take care of me – I’ll be fine.”
Blake and Brown were the only Canadians to qualify for the next round, after Andre De Grasse, still recovering from the throes of COVID-19, pulled out of the 200m start list earlier on Monday.
In the semi, the pair of Canadians will contend with a trio of talented Americans: 100m world champion Fred Kerley, 20-year-old American phenom Erriyon Knighton, and the fastest man in the heats at 19.98 seconds, Noah Lyles.
STORYLINE TO FOLLOW ON JULY 19
The men’s 200m semi-finals take place at 6:50 PST. 2019 World Finalist Aaron Brown and his teammate on Canada’s silver medal-winning 4x100m relay team Jerome Blake will look to crack the top eight and make the final.
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