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Alysha Newman 7th in pole vault final; Barber, Gleadle, Hughes and McBride advance to finals

Alysha Newman of London, Ont., placed seventh today in the women’s pole vault final at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London, England. This was the 23-year old’s first World Championships experience. She cleared 4.65-metres on her third attempt to stay alive in the competition, the bar then moved to 4.75-metres, a clearance which would have improved her Canadian record of 4.71-metres.

“I was jumping well, my warm-up didn’t go as I wanted, so for what I jumped today, I’m really happy,” said Newman following the final. “On my last attempt at 4.75m I was a little too far outside, I almost tried too hard. I needed to speed up and it just wasn’t there; I took too many jumps at earlier height. Seventh in the world, I’m happy.”

Anicka Newell of Saskatoon also competed in the pole vault final. Newell had clearances at 4.30-metres and 4.45-metres, but wasn’t able to clear 4.55-metres. Newell finished 12th in the event. Canada was the only country that fielded two competitors in the 12-person final.   

In the first event of the day, Matthew Hughes from Oshawa, Ont., automatically qualified for the men’s 3000-metres steeplechase final by placing third in his heat in a seasonal best performance of 8:24.79. Hughes has battled back this year after an unfortunate training injury involving a fire hydrant (read about it here). The 3000-metres steeplechase final is Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 4:10 p.m. ET. “The plan was to sit in early and not do too much work. I found myself in the lead and felt comfortable not pushing, but making sure the race didn’t go super slow,” said Hughes. “I didn’t mind being behind the guy from Uganda, he wasn’t the best hurdler, but I gave him some room and attacked each hurdle. It felt easy; on to the final.”

Shawn Barber of Toronto qualified for the men’s pole vault final by clearing 5.70-metres in qualification. Barber had first attempt clearances at 5.30-metres, 5.45-metres and 5.60-metres. “You kind of lose your motivation a little bit when you start thinking 5.60m is enough to get into the final. I think that might have been part of it (on the first two misses at 5.70m),” said Barber. “The winds weren’t great out there today, it was a long competition with all those people and all those heights.” The defending world champion cleared 5.70-metres on his third and final attempt to secure his place in the final. The final is Tuesday, Aug. 8, at 2:35 p.m. ET.

In Group A javelin qualification Elizabeth Gleadle of Vancouver registered a best throw of 62.97-metres to place fifth in her group, and 10th overall to advance to Tuesday’s final. There were some tense moments for Gleadle as she had to wait for Group B qualifying to see if 62.97-metres would be enough to advance. “It’s so nerve racking going through this (qualifying),” said Gleadle when Group A wrapped-up qualification. “You’re just trying to compete to compete in the final. A few contenders were knocked off so it opens up an opportunity for me.”

Brandon McBride of Windsor, Ont., took the reins and went gun to tape in the second of three 800-metre semifinals to automatically qualify for Tuesday’s final. He won his semifinal in 1:45.53. “I wanted to be very aggressive, I knew everybody was going to run it like it was a semifinal, I wanted to shock the field and run like it was the final. Now that I’ve made the final we’re going to re-focus and probably approach things differently.”

For the first time in World Championship history, the men’s and women’s marathons were held back-to-back on the same day. The men went first, followed by the women.

Thomas Toth of Toronto and Eric Gillis of Antigonish, N.S., were up first in the men’s marathon on the streets of London. Toth was patient and worked his way through the field in his first major championship to come through in a time of 2:23:47 and place 54th overall. Gillis was hanging around 30th place for most of the race, but dropped out between the 30km and 35km mark. He was through 30km in 1:35:24 but just ran out of gas. Gillis told fans on Twitter that he was “Disappointed I wasn’t able to show my fitness today. On Thursday, I came down with Norwalk (virus), I could have used a few more days of recovery.”

Tarah Korir of St. Clements, Ont., finished 51st in the women’s marathon in a time of 2:44:30. Dayna Pidhoresky of Vancouver was 70th in 2:56:15. Korir on the conditions, “It was hot out there, I started closer to the back, wasn’t my plan but it felt fast to me at the beginning. That’s not typically how I race, but in the end, it probably worked out better for me today, because I was able to start picking people off as opposed to the opposite. It was tough, but I’m pleased with how it went overall. I feel like I didn’t give up.”

Canada fielded three entries in the heats of the women’s 400-metres. In the first race, Travia Jones of Regina was eighth in a time of 54.02. This was Jones’ first experience on a world stage representing Canada. “It was a great experience, it was my first time in a big stadium like this; it’s a new experience,” said Jones. “I wanted to at least get a personal best and make it to the semis, it’s a learning experience.”

Aiyanna Stiverne of Laval, Que., raced to a time of 52.55 in heat 2 to place sixth. “I felt pretty calm compared to how nervous I was yesterday,” said Stiverne after her heat. “I handled my race pretty well, I ran my race, was faster than at Nationals and a couple of meets before that.”

Carline Muir of Edmonton finished seventh in heat 5 in a time of 52.70. Muir spoke to the media following her race and said “I still don’t know what happened, I have to go back and look at the video, see where I made my mistake early in the race. I’m very disappointed.”

All three women are part of the 4x400-metre relay team and are looking forward to competing at London Stadium. Muir on the relay, “We have a really strong (4x400m) team. I look forward to bringing home a medal for Canada and being on the podium with the girls.”

Crystal Emmanuel equaled her personal best of 11.14 in the women’s 100-metres semifinals to place fourth in her heat. The time was not fast enough to get her through to the final. “I just came out and tried to execute, I’ve been practising the 100 and 200-metres all year, but the latter is definitely my better race,” said Emmanuel. “I had some fun with the 100, now let’s see where the 200-metres takes me.”

Jonathan Cabral of Péribonka, Que., advanced to the semifinal with a time of 13.53 in the heats this morning. After the heats, he complained of a sore hamstring and unfortunately, the hamstring was an issue in the semis. In the third semifinal, he limped across the finish line in a time of 14.98 seconds and didn’t qualify for the final. 

Canadian Day 4 Worlds preview (all times ET)

Day 4 will be much quieter than today at London Stadium for the Canadian team with only three athletes in action.

Aaron Brown (Toronto) steps on the track for the first time at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at 1:30 p.m. for the men’s 200-metre heats.

Sage Watson (Medicine Hat, Alta.) looks to continue her winning streak in the women’s 400-metre hurdle heats, alongside Noelle Montcalm (Belle River, Ont.) at 2:30 p.m.

Visit Athletics Canada’s World Championships Information Hub for everything you need to know about Canada’s team, including complete schedule info, CBC webcast / broadcast information and more.

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