CANADIAN WOMEN’S RELAY BREAK RECORD AT OPENING NIGHT OF JEROME TRACK MEET
BY BRIAN POUND
BURNABY—The highlight event on the opening night of the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome International Track Classic at Swangard Stadium was billed as the men’s 100-metre final, part of the Canada-China Team Sprint Challenge and featuring several of the world’s fastest men.
Sorry, gentlemen, that honor went instead to four very fast Canadian women, who toured the 4x400-metre relay distance in 3:32.08, beating the meet mark of 3:36.67 set in 2007 by another Canadian team. Such was their performance that the team of Madeline Price, Aiyanna Stwerng, Travia Jones and Sage Watson finished nearly 90 metres ahead of the Chinese team.
“I thought we each did our part,”said Watson after the race. “As a team it would have been nice to run faster, but when you don’t have the competition and it’s a little bit cool out here tonight and if I think we had a little competition and little warmer weather, we could have gone under 3:30.”
The men’s 100-metre race was still exciting and was taken by Canada’s Aaron Brown, who crossed the finish line in 10.21 seconds followed by China’s Xiaosing Liang (10.33) and Canada’s Andre De Grasse (10.36), who afterwards said “I was a little bit rusty. I haven’t raced in a while. Aaron ran a good race, it definitely is going to keep me on my toes. Actually, he wasn’t supposed to be in this race. He wanted to send me a message, but it’s ok, I’m all right with that.”
Brown, for his part, said “today was all about practicing, getting ready for Nationals (starts July 3 in Ottawa). I haven’t run the 100 in a long time, so today I was just kind of getting my feet under me, getting the rhythm of the race back. And then go back to the drawing board to prepare for nationals. To beat Andre is always good, but I understand he’s coming off in injury and he is not at his best.”
Both De Grasse and Brown are expected to be members of Canada’s 4x100-metre relay on Wednesday night, the final event on the Canada-China Team Sprint Challenge for the Pacific World Cup.
The Canadian men’s 4x400-metre relay team had a much closer encounter with China in their event, the team of Daniel Harper, Austin Cole, Tremaine Harris and Philip Osei finishing in 3:09.23 compared to China (3:13.08).
The women’s 100-metre race saw Canada’s fastest woman, Crystal Emmanuel, do the expected, winning in 11.43 seconds but right behind her came two Chinese sprinters, Xiaosing Liang (11.46) and Qigi Yuan (11.54).
With the first of four Team Sprint Challenges in the books, and based on a points scoring system, Canada takes a 70-50 lead over China into the final night of competition. The windup events are the men and women’s 4x100-metre relays and the men and women’s 400-metres.
Meanwhile, in the Jerome meet itself, two-time 110-metre national hurdler champion Johnathan Cabral of Quebec won his race over the world’s number one decathlete Damian Warner (13.58 to 13.64). “I wanted to get a race in before nationals,” Cabral said, “and I’m satisfied with my performance.”
The IAAF’s number two world ranked woman long jumper Christabel Netty took her event with a best jump of 6.37 metres and Nanaimo high jumper Mike Mason got a scare when he missed his first two jumps at 2.16 metres, clearing the third, and then winding up winning the event at 2,21 metres.
The meet continues Wednesday night, first event 6:15 p.m.