Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field·2019 Pan Am Games

Canada sending 46 track and field athletes to Peru

Decathlete Damian Warner, a gold medallist at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, is among 18 returnees to Canada's roster of 46 — 19 men, 27 women — who will compete at this year's event in Lima, Peru, starting July 26.

18 returnees from 2015 squad that won 27 medals, including 11 gold, in Toronto

Damian Warner, who won decathlon gold at the 2015 Pan Am Games, leads Canada’s 46-member team into Lima, Peru, where 6,700 athletes from 41 countries across 62 disciplines in 39 sports will come together in July. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press/File)

This summer's Pan Am Games will allow Damian Warner to test some decathlon events against high-level competition two months out from the track and field world championships.

"Some of my top competitors will be at Pan Ams," says the native of London, Ont. "It will serve as an opportunity to see what needs to be worked on or changed before my focus turns to Doha [Qatar and the world championships]."

Warner, 29, was a gold medallist at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto and is among 18 returnees to Canada's roster of 46 — 19 men, 27 women — who will compete for 17 days in Lima, Peru, starting July 26.

It will represent the largest sporting event to be held in Peru, bringing together about 6,700 athletes from 41 countries across 62 disciplines in 39 sports.

Canada reached the podium 27 times in Toronto, winning 11 gold medals, seven silver and nine bronze.

5-time Hypo Meeting champion

"For me, the goal heading into every competition is to win," says Warner, who captured his fifth Hypo Meeting decathlon title last month in Gotzis, Austria. "On the day of the event, it's taking care of all the little things to make that a possibility."

Warner set personal bests in the 100 metres (10.12 seconds) and shot put (15.34m) at the event on the way to a 2019 world-leading total of 8,711 points.

WATCH | Damian Warner bests his 100m decathlon record:

Canadian Damian Warner runs the 100m in 10.12 seconds for the fastest time in decathlon history. 0:34

He has trained for much of the time since the Hypo Meeting, but did clear a season-best 4.85 metres in pole vault at the Bob Vigars Classic in his hometown on June 23.

The 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, Warner is seeing the benefit of the move home last September from Calgary to work with Gar Leyshon, his high school coach, as Warner has already reached the podium 11 times this outdoor season across various disciplines, including four victories.

Moncton's Genevieve Lalonde will be looking to upgrade her bronze medal in the 3,000 steeplechase from the 2015 Pan Ams.

Genevieve Lalonde of Moncton will try to improve on a bronze-medal finish from the 2015 Pan Am Games at this year’s event in Peru. She ran a personal-best and Canadian-record time of nine minutes 29.82 seconds in May. (David Ramos/Getty Images/File)

On May 18, the 27-year-old ran a personal-best and Canadian-record time of nine minutes 29.82 seconds that also fell inside the 9:30.00 Olympic standard for the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

"It's been a really great year. My team has been extremely consistent with training and very diligent with recovery," says Lalonde, who won the women's 1,500 (4:08.54) at the Speed River Inferno track and field meet on June 7 in Guelph, Ont.

At the end of March, she turned in the best result by a North American at the IAAF world cross-country championships in Aarhus, Denmark, closing in 20th in the 10-kilometre race with a time of 38 minutes 10 seconds. A few weeks earlier, Lalonde helped Canada's senior women to a silver medal at the NACAC cross-country championships with a fifth-place finish.

"My goal at Pan Ams is to compete to the best of my abilities and wear the Canadian singlet with pride," says the 2018 Canadian women's cross-country champion.

Wearing Canadian singlet 'a special feeling'

Several Canadians at the 2015 Pan Am Games went on to have breakout performances, including sprinter Andre De Grasse, who was a triple Olympic medallist the following year in Rio. Middle-distance runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu, pole vaulter Shawn Barber and high jumper Derek Drouin are others.

Most of the Canadian team in Lima will compete at National Sports Village from Aug. 6-11 while the marathons (July 27) and race walks (Aug. 4-11) will be held at Kennedy Park.

"Anytime you get to put on the Team Canada singlet, it's a special feeling," says Warner, a two-time world championship medallist. "When I first got into track, that was one of my biggest goals."

Adds Lalonde: "Wearing the Canadian singlet gives your performance a whole new meaning and ups the adrenaline, too. I always tell people it's like stepping into your superhero suit."

Canada's roster

  • Mobolade Ajomale, men's 100 metres, 4x100 relay
  • Marco Arop, men's 800
  • Ashlan Best, women's 4x100
  • Mathieu Bilodeau, men's 50-kilometre race walk
  • Khamica Bingham, women's 4x100
  • Jerome Blake, men's 200, 4x100
  • Maite Bouchard, women's 800
  • Leya Buchanan, women's 100, 4x100
  • Lindsey Butterworth, women's 800
  • Johnathan Cabral, men's 110m hurdles
  • Keira Christie-Galloway, women's 100 hurdles
  • Rachel Cliff, women's 10,000
  • Kyra Constantine, women's 400, 4x400
  • Brittany Crew, women's shot put
  • Evan Dunfee, men's 50 km race walk, 20 km race walk
  • Georgia Ellenwood, heptathlon
  • Crystal Emmanuel, women's 100, 200, 4x100
  • Ben Flanagan, men's 10,000
  • Phylicia George, women's 100 hurdles, 4x100
  • Liz Gleadle, women's javelin
  • Travia Jones, women's 4x400
  • Genevieve Lalonde, women's 3,000 steeplchase
  • Pierce LePage, men's decathlon
  • Rory Linkletter, men's 10,000
  • Django Lovett, men's high jump
  • Mike Mason, men's high jump
  • Brandon McBride, men's 800
  • Natassha McDonald, women's 400, 4x400
  • Sarah Mitton, women's shot put
  • Tim Nedow, men's shot put
  • Christabel Nettey, women's long jump
  • Alysha Newman, women's pole vault
  • Jessica O'Connell, women's 5,000
  • Philip Osei, men's 400
  • William Paulson, men's 1,500
  • Brendon Rodney, men's 200, 4x100
  • Camryn Rogers, women's hammer throw
  • Andrea Seccafien, women's 5,000

About the Author

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Faceoff.com. Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

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