Canada's medal prospects in track and field at Glasgow's Commonwealth Games

460856836 Canada enters the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow Scotland with almost a dozen athletes capable of winning medals in the track and field competition.  Naturally injury and with drawl for any reason by Canadian athletes or other competitors can immediately upset any prediction of outcome.  This uncertainty makes sport such a dramatic event and draws the attention of track and field fans around the world.

You will note that Canada’s top prospects are heavily weighted in the technical events.  The strength of the East Africans in the middle distance and distance events and the Jamaican and other Caribbean athletes in the sprints provide Olympic level competition on the track.

Besides Canada’s first dozen athletes who are ranked in the top 3 positions, there is a number on the bubble.  These athletes are ranked based on current times and their careers in the 4th through 6th positions.  We predict that some of the first group of athletes may not convert their top ranking to medals while some athletes on the bubble will actually move up to a medal position.

Can we reach our 2010 medal count of 7 gold, 2 silver and 8 bronze medals in New Delhi?  I think this may be difficult but not impossible.  Here is a run down of our top prospects.

Potential medalists 

Shawn Barber

Shawn Barber’94

Toronto born, Canadian record holder 5.71m pole vault

Best outdoor this season of 5.65m

Will be junior at University of Akron this fall

NCAA indoor champion 2014 with Canadian indoor record at 5.75m

Ranked behind veteran Steven Lewis of England with outdoor best in 2014 of 5.70m

Derek Drouin

Photo by Maxim Shemetov/Reuters/Files)

Derek Drouin’90

Corunna, Ontario, Canadian record holder 2.40m high jump

Graduate of Indiana University

Bronze medal at 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships

Canada’s best bet for gold,

Derek jumps10cm higher than opponents

Sultana Frizell

Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Sultana Frizell’84

Perth, Ontario, Canadian record holder 75.73 hammer

Graduate of University of Georgia

Sultana faces challenge from Sophie Hutchon (71.53m) of England and Julia Ratcliffe (70.28m) of New Zealand but the Canadian has not thrown less than 73.21m in 2014

Defending CWG gold medalist, look for another gold this time

Julie Labonte

Photo by Claus Andersen

Julie Labonte’90

Ste. Justine, Quebec, Canadian record holder 18.31m shot put

Graduate of Arizona State University, 2014 best of 17.24m

Gold and Silver out of reach with Valerie Adams (20.46m) of New Zealand the double Olympic Champion and Cleopatra Borel (19.10m) of Trinidad

Julie will struggle with Annie Alexander (17.10m) of Trinidad for bronze

Tim Nedow

Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

Tim Nedow’90

Brockville, Ontario Canadian champion 2014 shot put

Graduate of DePaul University, 2014 personal best of 20.98m

Many concede the gold and silver spots to Tom Walsh (21.23m) of New Zealand

and O’Dayne Richards (21.11m) of Jamaica

Tim will need to fight off challenge of Jacko Gill (20.70m) of New Zealand for bronze

Christabel Nettey

Christabel Nettey’91

Surrey, BC Canadian Champion 2014 long jump

Graduate of Arizona State University, 2014 best of 6.73m

Blessing Okagbare (6.86m) of Nigeria and Shara Proctor (6.82m) of England

may take gold and silver and Christabel left to contend with Brooke Stratton (6.70m) of Australia for the bronze

Alysha Newman

Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images Europe

Alysha Newman’94

Delaware, Ontario Canadian Junior record holder pole vault

University of Miami junior year 2014 best of 4.41m

Favourite is Alana Boyd (4.65m) of Australia and teammate Liz Parnov (4.40m) may take top two spots and Alysha will face challenges form Sally Peake (4.40m) of England for bronze

James Steacy photo THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

James Steacy’84

Lethbridge, Alberta, Canadian record holder 79.13m hammer throw

Graduate of University of Lethbridge, 2014 best of 75.27m

Pan American Champion for Canada, James will fight for gold against England’s duo of Nick Millar (74.38m) and Alec Smith (73.52m)

Brianne Theisen-Eaton

Brianne Theisen- Eaton’88

Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canadian record holder 6641 points heptathlon

University of Oregon graduate, silver medalist at World Indoor and Outdoor Championships.

The with drawl of Katarina Johnson-Thompson (6682) of England due to injury leaves only teammate, Jessica Zelinka (6128) and Morgan Lake (6081) of England as opposition.  Brianne should take the gold in this event

Damian Warner with Ashton Eaton on right

Damian Warner’89

London, Ontario,

Bronze medal World Championships, Moscow in 2013 with 8512 points decathlon

In 2014 Damian had a 7th place finish in World Indoor Championships in the heptathlon.   At the Canadian Championships he ran a personal best in the 110m hurdles with 13.52 (0.9) in the heats and then won the final in 13.62 (-1.7).  He completed only four events at Decathlon in Ottawa last weekend. One hopes this was scheduled as a part of his training program and not an injury.  If healthy he should have a strong competition against South Africa’s Willem Coertzen (8199) and Ashley Bryant (8144) of England.

Angela Whyte

Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images Europe

Angela Whyte’80

Edmonton, Alberta Pan American silver medalist 100m Hurdles

Graduate of University of Idaho, 2014 best 12.89

Sally Pearson (12.59) of Australia is the Olympic Champion and Tiffany Porter (12.65) of England the bronze medalist from the last World Championships seem to have a lock on the top spots. Angela will have to beat Jamaicans, Monique Morgan (12.94) and Shermaine Williams (12.95) to get the bronze

Jessica Zelinka

Photo credit: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press

Jessica Zelinka’81

London, Ontario, Pan American Champion Heptathlon

Graduate of University of Calgary, 2014 best 6128 points

Jessica should have a strong run at the silver medal with 17 year old Morgan Lake (6081) of England just having competed in World Junior Championships in Eugene this week. Could Angela Whyte medal in this event as she has a 2014 best of 6018 points?

 

On the bubble

Melissa Bishop

photo by Claus Andersen

Melissa Bishop’88

Eganville, Ontario, Canadian Champion 800m

University of Windsor Graduate, 2014 best 1:59.70

Melissa faces World Champions, Eunice Sum (1:57.92) and Janeth Jepkosgei (1:58.70) of Kenya who have every reason to be one two in this race.  Newcomer, Winnie Nanyando of Uganda just set a new national record of 1:58.63 and Scotland’s Lynsey Sharp (1:59.67) and England’s Jessica Judd (1:59.77) will make this a very close race for the bronze

Aaron Brown

Photo by Claus Andersen

Aaron Brown’92

Toronto, Ontario Canadian record holder 20.16 200m

Graduate of University of Southern California

Faces Jamaica’s Warren Weir (19.82) the Olympic and World Championship medalist plus his teammate, Nickel Ashmeade (19.95).  Isaac Makwala of Botswana just a new national record of 19.96.  Jamaica’s Rasheed Dywer (20.04) and Antoine Adams (20.08) of St Kitts will make this a very hot battle for these medals.

Aaron is on the verge of dipping under the 20 second barrier and he did upset Weir in Edmonton in June.

Liz Gleadle

Photo by Reese Raybon

Liz Gleadle’88

Vancouver, BC   Canadian record holder javelin 64.50m

Graduate of University of British Columbia

Liz faces Australians, Kimberly Mickele (66.83m) World Championships silver medalist and Kathryn Mitchell (66.10m) plus South Africa’s World Championship bronze medalist, Sunette Viljoen (64.87).  This competition will be an uphill battle for our Liz Gleadle

Matt Hughes

Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images Europe

Matt Hughes’89

Oshawa, Ontario, Canadian record holder 8:11.64 3000m steeplechase

Graduate University of Louisville, 2014 best 8:12.81

The Kenyan wall of terror is mounted in front of Matt.

Jairius Birech (8:02.37), Ezekial Kemboi (8:04.12) and Brimin Kipruto (8:04.64) or 4 others faster than Matt could be on the start line. Can he take down one of them for the bronze?

Canada's 400m relay team photo YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)

4x100m men

Canada took the bronze medal at the World Championships in Moscow

last year with a time of 37.92. Jamaica seems a guaranteed gold in this event with Usain Bolt scheduled to anchor this event. Britain has a 37.93 and Trinidad 38.03 at the World Relays Championships while Canada managed only 38.55.  No gifts here for Canada’s relay pool of Dontae Richards-Kwok, Gavin Smellie, Aaron Brown, Jared Connaughton, Segun Makinde and Andre De Grasse but a medal of any colour would be great.

Cam Levins

Cam Levins’89

Black Creek, British Columbia, Canadian Champion 2014 5000m

Graduate of Southern Utah University 2014 best 27:36.00

Kenyan depth provides huge challenge for Cam who will run only the 10.000m. Selection of Kenyans teams at altitude confuses situation as Josephat Bett and Peter Kirui has seasonal best of 28:06.3 but in Nairobi.

Lanni Marchant

Lanni Marchant’84

London, Ontario, Canadian record holder marathon 2:28.00

Once again Kenyan prowess puts Filomena Cheyech (2:22.44) and Phyllis Ongori (2:23.22) out front.  The battle for bronze is open as Namibia’s Helaria Johannes (2:28.27) and Agnes Barsosio (2:30.37) of Kenya can be challenged by Lanni’s 2014 time of 2:30.34

Mike Mason

Mike Mason’86

Abbotsford, British Columbia, personal best 2.31m High Jump

2014 best of 2.28m

With teammate, Derek Drouin favored for gold, Mike will be in battle with Tom Parsons (2.29m) of England, Kabelo Kgosiemang (2.28m) of Botswana, Temfack Fernan Djoumessi (2.28m) of the Cameroons and Ryan Ingraham (2.28m) of England for a spot on the podium

oconnell

Photo by Michael Scott

Jessica O’Connell’89

Calgary, Alberta, Canadian Champion 5000m

2014 best 15:13.21

Double trouble with both Kenyans and England.  Mercy Cherono (14:39.49), Janet Kisa (14:59.93) and Margaret Wangari Muriuki (15:30.18) plus Brits, Jo Pavey (15.04.87), Emelia Gorecka (15:07.45) and Julia Bleasdale (15:11.68) will make a great race for Jessica.

Nicole Sifuentes

Nicole Sifuentes’86

Winnipeg, Manitoba World Indoor bronze medalist 1500m

2014 best 4:04.87

Again the Kenyans and Brits produce big challenges here. Helen Obiri (3:57.05) is world indoor medalist and teammate Faith Kipyegon (3:58.01) is world junior champion. Laura Muir (4:00.07) of England and Laura Weightman (4:02.72) make this a tight race for Nicole