Track and Field·TRACK & FIELD ROUNDUP

Crystal Emmanuel out of mix for sprint medal, injures hip in 200-metre semis

Canadian sprinter Crystal Emmanuel will depart her third Summer Games without a first appearance in the 100 or 200-metre final and nursing a sore hip while pole vaulter Alysha Newman, the national record holder, no-heighted in Monday's qualification round.

Fellow Canadian Alysha Newman no-heights at 4.25 metres in pole vault qualification

Dejected Canadian Crystal Emmanuel failed to advance to her first-ever Olympic 200-metre final on Monday after crossing the finish line in 23.05 seconds. Emmanuel, who also suffered an injury during her performance, clocked a season-best 22.74 in the heats earlier in the day. (Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters)

Crystal Emmanuel will depart her third Summer Games without a first appearance in the 100- or 200-metre final and nursing a sore hip.

The Toronto resident clocked 23.05 seconds to place sixth in the second of three semifinals in the women's 200 following a season-best 22.74 in the heats earlier Monday at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium.

"I came out to execute a good semifinal [but] unfortunately I couldn't do that. I'm feeling a little bit of pain in my hip," Emmanuel told CBC Sports in Japan shortly after her race. "I have to listen and go with what my body tells me."

Later, Emmanuel's coach Charles Allen confirmed the injury in a text message to CBC Sports, noting she was being assessed by Athletics Canada medical personnel but didn't elaborate on the severity of the ailment or which hip is injured.

The 29-year-old, who said she was disappointed with her race, would have needed to lower her 22.50 personal best to advance to Tuesday evening's final (8:50 a.m. ET in Canada) as Beatrice Masilingi of Namibia secured the final qualifying spot in 22.40.

Emmanuel has shown progression in the 200 during her Olympic career, placing 21st in her 2021 debut in London, 23rd in Rio four years later and 18th at these Games, but probably expected more in Tokyo after running 22.65 at the 2019 world championships.

An eight-time Canadian champion in the 100, she finished 16th in Tokyo but didn't advance to the final, won by Elaine Thompson-Herah in a Games-record 10.61 to lead a Jamaican sweep of the medal podium.

Canadian pole vaulter Alysha Newman, who aspires to clear five metres, exited the women's qualification round Monday after missing three attempts at 4.25. It marked her fourth no-height in five competitions since May 2.

Newman couldn't plant the pole on her first attempt and then leaned over after her second try, grabbing her left shin.

"You want to be at your best, represent the country. You don't want to let anybody down," Newman told CBC Sports as she broke into tears. "There's a whole [support] team that works with you and they dedicate so much time for you to be successful.

"It's hard for me to come out here and just feel like my body was at its best shape."

WATCH | Newman misses 3 attempts to clear 4.25 metres:

Alysha Newman struggles in pole vault qualification, fails to advance

4 months ago
1:17
Canada's Alysha Newman failed to complete a successful vault on all three of her attempts in her Olympic pole vault qualification round. 1:17

Concussion disrupted pre-Olympic plans

A visibly disappointed Newman wasn't in the mood to analyze her season, stating "It's done, it's over. I have to keep looking forward to the future [and] get ready for Paris [and the 2024 Olympics]."

CBC Sports analyst Mike Smith, a former Canadian decathlete, wondered during the broadcast if Newman is being affected by things outside the sport.

"I'm not sure where her focus lies this year," he said. "It looks like she was limping a little. [She's] obviously in a different state of mind [for] the focus necessary at the Olympic Games."

WATCH | Newman: "You want to be at your best, represent the country':

Alysha Newman on pole vault disappointment: 'It's worse than anything, it hurts your heart'

4 months ago
2:20
The Canadian pole vaulter discusses the sadness of not being able to perform her best at Tokyo 2020. 2:20

On the weekend, the Canadian indoor and outdoor record holder addressed her Instagram followers, pointing out she didn't work hard ahead of her second Olympic appearance to have it end before it began.

"I can truly say I've been to hell and back this year [with injuries] but giving up is just not in my blood," said Newman, who cleared 4.45 for 17th place in her 2016 Olympic debut. "All the work is done, the stage is set and it's time to fly!"

On June 15, she also stated on Instagram a concussion had taken a "larger toll" on her than she was willing to admit and disrupted competition plans through the spring.

In her lone performance of late, the native of London, Ont., posted a winning jump of 4.31 at the Inferno Track and Field Festival in nearby Guelph.

Newman had hoped to return to the Diamond League professional track & field circuit in Stockholm on July 4 but failed to clear a bar at a tune-up meet in Sweden and slipped one spot in the world rankings to fifth.

WATCH | Canada's soccer women going for gold after shutout win over U.S.:

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For the first time in 20 years, Canada's women's soccer team gets a win over the United States. Simone Biles announces she will compete in a final, and the stage has been set for Canadian beach volleyball players. 3:36

No surgery for partially torn patellar tendon

As for a potential injury to her left shin, it might be connected to the partially torn patellar tendon Newman suffered on May 26, 2018 at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meet in Portland, Ore. She was later diagnosed with a six-millimetre tear of the tendon that attaches the bottom of the kneecap to the top of the shinbone.

Newman opted not to have surgery, given the approximate six-month recovery so close to the 2019 world championships and 2020 Olympics, later postponed and rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time, Newman was also dealing with "a lot" of arthritis in her left knee along with swelling, scar tissue and arthritis in the quadriceps muscle.

She resumed full training five months later following rest and extensive physiotherapy and returned to competition indoors in January 2019. After setting a personal best of 4.82 later that year in Paris, Newman took most of 2020 off during the pandemic to train and returned to indoor competition earlier this year.

Hurdler Watson eliminated in semis

Saskatoon's Anicka Newell is guaranteed her best Olympic finish after clearing 4.55 and advancing with 14 others to Thursday's final at 6:20 a.m. ET. The 27-year-old was 29th at the 2016 Games.

Torrential rain arrived Monday minutes before hurdler Sage Watson of Medicine Hat, Alta., stopped the clock in 55.51 seconds for fifth in her 400 semifinal. She placed 13th overall and missed qualifying for her first individual Olympic final by 1.26 seconds.

Watson, who won 2019 Pan Am gold, ran a 54.32 PB two months later in the world semifinals to break Rosey Edeh's 23-year Canadian record and was eighth in the final in 54.82.

Last August, the 27-year-old Watson told CBC Sports she wanted to lower the national mark but her best time since worlds is 55.46. Reaching the goal probably became more challenging in June after she strained her lower back.

Watson, who led the Canadian women's 400-metre relay team to fourth in the Olympic final five years ago, is scheduled to anchor the squad in Thursday's heats, beginning at 6:25 a.m. ET.

Canadian-best placing for Hughes in steeplechase

At 31, Matt Hughes delivered his best Olympic performance in men's steeplechase, clocking 8:16.03 over 3,000 metres on a wet track for the best-ever placing by a Canadian in the event. While Hughes fell shy of his 8:13.56 season best from Friday's heats, it was an improvement on his 10th-place effort in Rio.

"I'm content with that … happy too," the Toronto resident told Athletics Canada "You look at the way my season started and, mentally and physically, I wasn't in a great spot. Overall, I can't be disappointed with that.

John Gay of Kelowna, B.C., sat fourth for a brief period but perhaps went out too fast in the final of his Olympic debut as he faded late in the race and was the final runner in the 15-man field to cross the line.

The 24-year-old impressed in the heats, taking nearly four seconds off his PB to finish in 8:16.99.

Soufiane El Bakkali became Morocco's first men's Olympic champion when he crossed the line in 8:08.90 while Lemecha Girma won silver to capture Ethiopia's first Summer Games medal in the event since Eshetu Tura earned bronze in 1980.

Seccafien shifts focus to 10,000m final

Andrea Seccafien of Guelph, Ont., who was racing for her first-ever Summer Games medal, was unable to achieve her goal of a top-10 finish with a 14:59.55 clocking for 15th in the women's 5,000 final.

Seccafien, who set a 14:57.07 season- and personal-best on May 29 at the Portland Track Festival in Oregon, squeezed into Monday's race after a disqualification in a heat race bumped the 30-year-old to the 15th and final qualifying spot.

Seccafien was 20th overall in the 5,000 at her Olympic debut in Rio and is expected to race the 10,000 final in Tokyo on Saturday at 6:45 a.m. ET. Her 31:13.94 PB on May 14 in Irvine, Calif., beat the 31:25 Olympic qualifying standard and shattered Natasha Wodak's Canadian mark from 2015.

"There were a lot of surges [in Monday's race] and I just couldn't get into a good position," Seccafien said. "I didn't make the final in 2016, so at least there's a little bit of progression."

Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands won her first Olympic race on Monday in 14:36.79, defeating 2016 Olympic silver medallist and reigning world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya (14:38.36) and Ethiopia's Gudaf Tsegay (14:38.87).

WATCH | CBC Sports' Rob Pizzo offers fun facts about Canada's athletics team:

20 fun facts about Canada's athletics team

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From collections to strange superstitions, Canada's track and field athletes have some interesting quirks. 2:48

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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