Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth Games Primer: Athletics

High jumper Derek Drouin, decathlete Damian Warner and heptathlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton, all world championship medallists, lead a strong Canadian track team into the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

High jumper Drouin among Canada's medal threats

The umbrella name for track and field and road running, athletics is a core sport at the Commonwealth Games. It's been a big part of every edition dating back to the inaugural Games in 1930 in Hamilton.

Athletics will once again highlight the program in Glasgow, with some 50 events over seven days.

The action starts on July 27 with the men's and women's marathons on the streets of Glasgow, plus the opening track and field events at renovated 52,000-seat Hampden Park, home of Scotland's national soccer team. The men's and women's 4x100-metre relays cap things off on Aug. 2.

Six para-sport events are included in the athletics program — the 100m and 1,500m for both men and women, plus a men's discus throw and a women's long jump.

The able-bodied events are:

  • Track: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m, 10,000m, 100m hurdles (women), 110m hurdles (men), 400m hurdles, 3000m steeplechase, 4x100m relay, 4x400m relay.
  • Throws: Shot put, discus throw, hammer throw, javelin throw.
  • Jumps: Long jump, high jump, triple jump, pole vault.
  • Combined: Decathlon (men), heptathlon (women).
  • Road: Marathon.

International athletes to watch

Jamaican sprint icon Usain Bolt will be in Glasgow, but will run only in the 4x100-metre relay as he continues his comeback from foot surgery. His teammate Nickel Ashmeade is the favourite to win the individual race.

In the women's 100, two-time Olympic and reigning world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will try to overcome a nagging leg issue.

England's Mo Farah, a gold medallist in both the 5,000 and 10,000 metres at the London Olympics, planned to compete in both events in Glasgow but withdrew from both events at the last minute due to a stomach ailment.

David Rudisha, the reigning Olympic 800-metre champ, looks to be in top form after equalling his own world-best time of the season at a Diamond League meet at Hampden Park earlier this month.

Canadians to watch

Canada is looking to surpass the 17 medals (including seven gold) it won at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games in Delhi. 

The team includes seven medallists from past Commonwealth Games — Josh Cassidy, Sultana Frizell, Carline Muir, Diane Roy, James Steacy, Angela Whyte, and Jessica Zelinka — plus these standouts:

Derek Drouin (high jump)

The 24-year-old from Corunna, Ont., has emerged as one of the world's best in his sport, winning bronze at both the 2012 London Olympics and last year's world championships in Moscow. This season Drouin has raised his own Canadian record to 2.40 metres, becoming just the 10th man ever to clear that height in outdoor competition.

Brianne Theisen-Eaton (heptathlon)

The silver medallist at last year's world championships, Theisen-Eaton in June broke Jessica Zelinka's Canadian heptathlon record at the prestigious IAAF Hypo Meeting in Austria. But it wasn't enough to beat England's Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who will be in Glasgow for a rematch with Theisen-Eaton. The 25-year-old from Humboldt, Sask., makes up half of one very athletic couple: her husband, American Ashton Eaton, is the Olympic and world champion in the decathlon, and the world record holder.

Damian Warner (decathlon)

The 24-year-old from London, Ont., won bronze at last year's worlds. Neither of the men who finished ahead of him — Eaton and Germany's Michael Schrader — hails from a Commonwealth country.


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