Canadian relay team going to Beijing
Runners Hank Palmer, Anson Henry, Jared Connaughton and Pierre Brown qualify for Olympics
The Canadian men’s 4 x 100-metre relay team is going to the Beijing Olympics. The International Association of Athletics Federations will announce the 16 teams that have qualified for Beijing on Monday.
The teams were ranked according to the average of their two fastest times, with the world champion United States coming out on top, ahead of Jamaica and Great Britain.
The Canadian team of Hank Palmer, Anson Henry, Jared Connaughton and Pierre Brown were ranked 10th on the strength of their performances in Lucerne, Switzerland, on July 16 - a race they won in 38.72 seconds - and the 38.81 they ran at the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro a year ago.
Other teams to qualify were Japan (4), Brazil (5), Germany (6), France (7), Poland (8) and Nigeria (9).
Must confirm by Sunday
The IAAF has given the member federations until Sunday night to confirm they will use the place they have earned before officially announcing the qualifiers. Some federations are under strict limitations as to the number of athletes they may send to Beijing. If they don’t confirm the place will be given to alternative teams.
The Netherlands is currently ranked 17th and would gain a possible entry if one of the top ranked teams does not go.
At the 2004 Athens Olympics, the Canadian team of Nicolas Macrozonaris, Anson Henry, Charles Allen and Pierre Browne ran 38.64 seconds in the first round, which was not fast enough to get to the final. Coach Glenroy Gilbert, a member of the 1996 Olympic gold medal winning team, is encouraged by how well the current squad has performed.
"The goal right now is to be in the Olympic final and finish, hopefully, in the top six. It’s a lofty goal but the guys we have are a little older and more experienced," said Gilbert. "A couple of guys have run in the Olympic Games before. Pierre (Brown) and Anson (Henry) are kind of the veterans on the squad and we are looking for them to be leaders and help get the younger guys over the hump."
Brown in better form
Brown won the 100 at the Canadian championships but his season best time of 10.19 seconds wasn’t fast enough to qualify as an individual. He is clearly in better form than four years ago. Both Connaughton (200) and Henry (100) will run individual events before the relay in Beijing. Gilbert says if they run into complications, fatigue or injury, there are other members ready to race.
"We are deep," says Gilbert. "Any guy can step in. Any one of the alternates can step in and help the team run as good or better. "Getting the guys away for 10 days in Europe, and giving them the opportunity to compete somewhere other than the major events, hopefully, will work in our favour."