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Top 5 finishes for Smyth, Dupont and Roy on final day of #GC2018

Athletics Canada ends Commonwealth Games with 13 podiums and 37 Top 8 finishes

Sunny skies and a light breeze greeted Canada’s T54 marathoners at Southport Broadwater Parklands early this morning.

After capturing the Gold medal in the 1,500-metres, Alexandre Dupont was looking to land on the podium for the second time this week. Dupont, racing alongside Australia’s Kurt Fearnley, would go out strong, breaking away from the pack just over two kilometres in. Heading into the first turn, Dupont would crash into the back of Fearnley, causing him to roll over. The veteran wheelchair racer would manage to get back in the race, but his hopes of a podium finish were all but gone. Dupont would finish the race fifth (1:36:44), while Fearnely would go on to win the race in front of a home crowd.

Tristan Smyth, battling with England’s John Smith and Simon Lawson for the entire 42.195 kilometres, would steer clear of Dupont’s crash, managing to stay in the Top 4 for the duration of the race. Conserving energy throughout the second half, Smyth thought he had enough left in the tank to make a final push. The headwind proved to be too much down the stretch, with all three athletes crossing the finish line together in 1:31:44, less than one second separating second through fourth place. Smyth would settle for fourth and a season’s best performance.

Canada’s most experienced marathoner, Diane Roy, would line-up for the women’s T54 marathon. But after focusing her training on the 1,500-metres prior to the Games, the race proved to be a challenge – especially the turns and the first hill. After racing through the streets surrounding Southport Broadwater Parklands primarily in the second pack, Roy would cross the finish line fifth in a time of 1:50:13.

Tristan Smyth (4th place) following the men’s T54 marathon

On how today’s race unfolded
“I felt strong through the first half of the race. Kurt (Fearnley) was out front leading the pack – he’s a legend in wheelchair racing – he took the first roundabout at the north end really sharp. Alex got caught in his wheel and rolled over. That created a significant gap as the pack had to slow down and go wide. The three of us (Smyth, Smith and Lawson) worked together for the rest of the race, but we just couldn’t catch him.”

The last kilometre
“I wanted to make sure I had energy for the end. I thought I would be able to get around them, but the headwind was really strong coming off the bridge. I gave it my all and almost had it. Overall, I’m happy with today’s race.”

Alex Dupont (5th place) following the men’s T54 marathon

Breaking away from the pack and the early crash
“I was in really good shape at the start of the race and aiming for the podium. I started to attack; Kurt Fearnley and I took off and dropped the pack. I was hoping to keep the momentum going and then about four or five kilometres in, Kurt turned into me. It wasn’t his fault, I was following too close, but once he turned it pushed my front wheel and I just went over. I managed to get back in the race, but everyone was gone by then. I raced the whole race by myself trying to catch-up to the lead pack, but I just couldn’t do it.”

Diane Roy (5th place) following the women’s T54 marathon

On today’s race
“The first 10 kilometres were ok, but I wasn’t feeling as comfortable as I did in the 1,500-metres. We were going at a good pace, but I had slow down at the first turn. I lost the pack but was able to catch-up. I wasn’t able to stay with them up the first hill and then after that I was on my own. The last 10 kilometres were really tough, my neck was quite soar, and I just wanted to finish the race.”

On her training for the marathon
“I trained for the marathon in Florida in February, but I was alone. You can see the difference when you push by yourself versus in a pack. I certainly missed that part of the training. I focused on the 1,500-metres over the past couple of months. My time today wasn’t bad, overall I’m happy.”

 

A look back at #GC2018

The Canadian athletics team will wrap-up the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games with 13 medals to their name, including three Gold, six Silver and four Bronze. Over an eight-day period, 37 athletes would record Top 8 finishes, and some of the most memorable performances of the Games.

Head coach Glenroy Gilbert took some time to reflect on the team’s accomplishments, their readiness and what’s next for this talented group of athletes.

On the team’s performance in Gold Coast
“Overall, I thought everyone performed well. Obviously, there are some areas that needed to be better and weren’t. There were athletes that were not as prepared as they should have been to compete at the Commonwealth Games. For those who won medals and were in the top half of their field, clearly, they are on the right path and where we want them to be. The Commonwealth Games are a stepping-stone to bigger and better things, and Doha (IAAF World Championships) and Tokyo 2020 are our focus.”

Surprise and gutsy performances
“When you look at the athletes who performed, I liked what Mohammed Ahmed did – back-to-back Silver medals in the 5,000 and 10,000-metres. Matt Hughes, that for me was a very inspiring and gut-wrenching performance. I think he went for it, obviously coming up a little short. Alysha Newman and what she did, passing and then going for the higher bar and making it, it was exciting to watch. Brittany Crew was out of the medals, and then on her final throw, she was able to put herself in a medal position. Pierce LePage, his performance after Damian Warner was out of the competition was exceptional; being able to stay the course and deliver a medal, he should be proud of what he did here. There were a lot of inspiring performances, not only to myself, but to the entire team that was here. I think we can build on these performances moving forward.”

Takeaways for the team
“I want our athletes to know that they belong on this stage; that they belong in finals and should be shooting for the podium. They are no longer participants just happy to be here. I hope being here at the Commonwealth Games and seeing athletes win medals and finish in the top half of the field, is something that we as a country, as a program, have to get used to doing and used to expecting to happen. We are on the right path.”

 

Canadian Medallists

Alexandre Dupont, T54 1500m – Gold
Christabel Nettey, long jump – Gold
Alysha Newman, pole vault – Gold
Mohammed Ahmed, 5,000m – Silver
Mohammed Ahmed, 10,000m – Silver
Shawnacy Barber, pole vault – Silver
Aaron Brown, 200m – Silver
Pierce LePage, decathlon – Silver
Nina Schultz, heptathlon – Silver
Brittany Crew, shot put – Bronze
Django Lovett, high jump – Bronze
Tim Nedow, shot put – Bronze
Diane Roy, T54 1500m – Bronze

Top 8 Finishes
Sultana Frizell, hammer throw – 4th
Elizabeth Gleadle, javelin throw – 4th
Matt Hughes, 3,000m steeplechase – 4th
Adam Keenan, hammer throw – 4th
Tristan Smyth, T54 marathon – 4th
Benjamin Thorne, 20km race walk – 4th
Alyxandria Treasure, high jump – 4th
Kyle Whitehouse, T38 100m – 4th
Alexandre Dupont, T54 marathon – 5th
Crystal Emmanuel, 200m – 5th
Diane Roy, T54 marathon – 5th
Sage Watson, 400mH – 5th
Natasha Wodak, 10,000 metres – 5th
Angela Whyte, heptathlon – 5th
David Bambrick, F38 shot put – 6th
Michael Mason, high jump – 6th
Niki Oudenaarden, heptathlon – 6th
Deryk Theodore, pole vault – 6th
Genevieve Lalonde, 3,000m steeplechase – 7th
Anicka Newell, pole vault – 7th
Tristan Smyth, T54 1500 – 7th
Kevin Strybosch, F38 shot put – 7th
Evan Dunfee, 20km wace walk – 8th
Taryn Suttie, shot put – 8th

- end -

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