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SZEGEDIFY | TheRockies.Life Staff

Edmontonian Runner Wins World Championship

Canadian athletes shine at 2023 World Athletics Championship

Track and field is a sport unlike any other. Athletes push their bodies to the limits to compete in running, jumping, and throwing contests.

The 2023 World Athletics Championship (WAC) in Budapest, Hungary, set the stage to showcase some of the world’s most incredible track and field athletes, and ‘Oh Canada’ was sung often in the awards ceremonies.

The WAC was held from August 19 to 27 and saw 46 countries compete in 49 track and field events. Canada stood above its competition, placing second behind the United States in medals.

Arop On Top: The 800m Star From Edmonton

Marco Arop’s performance was golden in the 800m event. The 24-year-old from Edmonton was in high spirits after finishing with a 1:44.24 time and earning gold for Canada.

Track and field wasn’t always on Arop’s radar. He was offered a basketball scholarship by the Concordia University of Edmonton but decided on track and field after Arop’s high school basketball coach recommended the sport.

marco arop ahead of a back of runners during the 800m event
Marco Arop ahead of the competition during the 800m at the WAC | Lets Run

The rest is history. The talented 800m athlete now has several medals under his belt from different track and field meets, including two golds, two silvers, and one bronze. During his gold-earning performance at the WAC, Arop started in the back of the pack.

Around the 500m mark, he slowly crept to the outside and eventually took the lead within 300m of the finish line. During last year’s WAC, Arop was passed in the final 300m by Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir and Djamel Sedjati of Algeria.

Things looked a little different this year. Korir was absent from the race because he was still recovering from a foot injury he sustained in March, and Sedjati was disqualified from the final.

“I’ve visualized this many times and seen myself winning, but it doesn’t compare to the real thing. I’m still in disbelief, and I gotta give a lot of credit to my coach, my support team, my family and everybody behind me,” expressed Arop.

Shortly after the WAC, Arop competed in the Xiamen Diamond League, a track and field meet held in Xiamen, China. During the event, he earned a personal best time of 1:43.24 in the 800m and placed second just behind Kenya’s Emmanuel Wanyonyi.

Candian Decatheletes Closed Strong

warner and lepage holding their medals posing for a photo with the canadian flag over lepages back
Damian Warner (left) and Pierce LePage (right) posing with their medals at the WAC | Canadian Running Magazine

Canada tripled its medal count in just one hour on the second to last day of the competition. In particular, Pierce LePage, Damian Warner, Marco Arop, and Sarah Mitton brought their A-game.

In the decathlon event, LePage and Warner brought home gold and silver. The winner of the all-around two-day decathlon is known as the best athlete in the world. It requires broad physical gifts to excel at 100 metres (m), long jump, shot put, high jump, 400m, 110m hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and 1500m.

Imagine competing in four runs, three throws, and three jumps against the world’s best. Each event is scored separately, with points going towards an overall total.

Hailing from Whitby, Ontario, LePage achieved a personal best of 8,909 points and became the first Canadian to win gold in the event. This was a step up from last year’s performance, where he earned silver.

LePage put his body through the wringer to win gold. Over the two days, he injured his hamstring before the 110m hurdles, twisted his right shoulder in the long jump, and had his knee buckle after clearing 1.99m in the high jump.

marco arop and sarah mitton bumping fists and smiling for the camera wearing red team canada shirts
Marco Arop and Sarah Mitton, who were named co-captains for Team Canada at the 2023 WAC | Athletics Canada | The Hawk

While Warner, from London, Ontario, may have come second overall, he beat LePage by 10-100th of a second in the 110m hurdles, earning a time of 13.67 seconds.

LePage’s hamstring injury may have held him back in the hurdles event, but it didn’t stop him from throwing 50.98 centimetres (cm) in the discus event and placing second.

Warner’s performance was impressive, securing second in the 100m hurdles, discus, and pole vault events. But competition for silver was fierce, with Lindon Victor of Grenada just 15 points behind Warner after the pole vault event.

Victor nearly snatched the silver from Warner by beating his mark in the javelin, but Warner reclaimed the medal in the 1,500m and earned 78 more points than Victor.

Warner achieved a season-best of 8,804 in the decathlon and earned his fourth silver medal in his WAC career. He may not have made gold, but the talented athlete had nothing but love for his fellow Canadian.

“LePage beat me today; he was the better man, and I’m really happy for him; I’m proud of myself for how I fought,” Warner told CBC Sports.

Smitten By Mitton: Nova Scotia’s Shot Put Powerhouse

Sarah Mitton, a 27-year-old from Nova Scotia, qualified for the women’s shot put final after throwing 19.37m in the qualification round on Saturday. Shot put involves throwing a heavy ball as far as possible.

Sounds simple, right? The ball weighs almost 9 pounds, about the same weight as a small bowling ball or a newborn baby. Please don’t throw children.

At the WAC, shot putters have six attempts to throw a shot as far as possible. In the final, Mitton achieved a season-best of 19.90m on her third try and threw an even farther 20.08m on her fifth try.

sarah mitton with her hands on her hips laughing wearing the team canada uniform at the commonwealth games
Sarah Mitton at the 2022 Commonwealth Games | 49 Sports

Mitton initially didn’t feel her best and started slowly, throwing 19.17 and 19.27 on her first and second tries. But on her third try, she pushed through it and believed in her training.

“In the third round, I knew it was going to be a dog fight for me, and I’m so happy I ended up with a medal,” said Mitton.

Overall, Mitton placed second in the women’s shot put final behind Chase Ealey from the United States, who earned back-to-back world titles. Ealey’s best throw of 20.43m was achieved on her first try.

Mitton was followed closely by China’s Gong Lijiao, who won gold at the Olympics two years ago. Lijiao’s best throw was 19.69m

After experimenting with different techniques, Mitton switched back to her standard throwing technique in the lead-up to WAC. The results were evident at the Canadian national trials, where Mitton earned her third national title after throwing 19.69m.

“I pretty much spend my whole day training…but I think it’ll be worth my while because every time I do it, I feel a bit better and throw a bit further,” said Mitton.

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