Humbled in Rabat, a healthy Sarah Mitton set for stacked shot put at Meeting de Paris
Canadian record holder back from illness; Arop, Katzberg, Newman also competing
Sarah Mitton is rested, rejuvenated, and ready to shrug off a uncharacteristic subpar performance.
The reigning Canadian shot put champion put in a solid week of training following an illness and will be ready to compete against a stacked field at the Diamond League stop in Paris.
On May 28, Mitton sat mid-pack after her first throw of 18.56 metres in Rabat, Morocco, before struggling with technique and over rotating in the circle. Mitton dipped to 18.12 on her second try, 18.04 on her fifth and didn't qualify among the top three for a sixth and final attempt.
Mitton entered that competition with a cold she and coach Rich Parkinson caught coming out of the USATF Throws Festival in Tucson, Ariz., where she threw a season-best 19.58 for the victory.
"She doesn't want to use any excuses. [Rabat]'s one of those meets where it wasn't there," Parkinson said in an interview with CBC Sports before Mitton competes at the Meeting de Paris Diamond League meet on Friday.
Portugal's Auriol Dongmo threw a 19.28 SB to win in Morocco, which only further disappointed Mitton, who exceeded the distance 12 times last year, including a 20.33 national record at the Canadian track and field championships.
"It was easily in her wheelhouse to take that one," Parkinson said. "It was a bit of a humbling experience for her. She hasn't had many misfires the last couple of years."
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Mitton, who hails from Brooklyn, N.S., but lives and trains in Toronto, flew back to Canada after Rabat. She worked with her coach at four training sessions, hit the weight room, and got some much-needed sleep in her own bed.
In Paris, where Mitton plans to visit the Eiffel Tower, she will be part of a stacked event at 12:57 p.m. ET featuring 2020 world champion Chase Ealey, her American teammate Maggie Ewen, Jamaica's Danniel Thomas-Dodd and Dongmo.
Ealey had won all 13 of her outdoor events dating to her 2022 season opener, including three times against Mitton, until placing second (19.98) at the USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix on May 27. Eight days later, the 28-year-old threw 17.09 for 10th at the FBK Games in Hengelo, Netherlands — Ealey's shortest since a 15.11 effort on June 2, 2018 in Chicago.
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Mitton exacted revenge on Ealey in February, defeating her in Madrid at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold series, but Parkinson anticipates last year's Diamond League champion to come back with a vengeance on Friday at Charléty Stadium.
"Part of me wants Chase to fight back," he said, "but don't poke the bear."
I think she's prepared. She loves a good competition and would like to beat people while they're at their best.— Coach Rich Parkinson on Mitton facing top talent in Paris
The 28-year-old Ewen threw a season world-leading and personal best 20.45 at the L.A. Grand Prix and followed with a winning 19.61 in Hengelo. She will start her Friday in the mixed hammer throw. Thomas-Dodd, the 2019 world silver medallist, went 19.77 in L.A. for third and a Jamaican record.
Parkinson believes Mitton, a 2020 Olympian, will build character facing tough competition after the disappointment in Rabat.
"That's how athletes find themselves," he said. "I think she's prepared. She feels good and is in good spirits. She loves a good competition and would like to beat people while they're at their best."
Newman, Arop, Katzberg also in Paris
Three other Canadians will join Mitton in Paris: Pole vaulter Alysha Newman, middle-distance runner Marco Arop and hammer thrower Ethan Katzberg, who competes in the mixed event in which athletes won't collect Diamond League points.
Newman, who withdrew for undisclosed reasons from the Golden Gala competition on June 2 in Florence, Italy, returns for her third outdoor competition of 2023 and second on the Diamond League circuit at 2:20 p.m. ET.
The Canadian record holder (4.82 metres at the 2019 Meeting de Paris) cleared 4.45 in early May for eighth of nine finishers in Doha, Qatar, and improved to 4.61 for second at the L.A. Grand Prix.
Arop, who races the men's 800 metres at 4:51 p.m. ET, opened his outdoor campaign in Rabat, stopping the clock in one minute 46.34 seconds for fifth place.
Ranked second in the world, the reigning Canadian champion had a trio of top-three Diamond League finishes last year, including a May 21 victory in Birmingham, England.
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Katzberg of Nanaimo, B.C., will compete in Paris at 12:10 p.m. ET, three days after a third-place effort at the fifth Irena Szewinska Memorial meet in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
His best throw of 76.83 was nearly three metres short of victorious American Rudy Winkler (79.70) and silver medallist Wojciech Nowicki of Poland (79.52).
On May 5, he set a 78.41 personal best at the Dylan Armstrong Track Classic in Kamloops, B.C., to meet the 78.00 meet standard for the Aug. 19-27 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
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Meanwhile, some U.S. and international athletes are aiming high in Paris.
Sprinter Noah Lyles, fresh off a world-leading 19.67 in the 200 metres, will try for his second win in four races this season in the 100. He opened his season in 9.95 seconds, the 2019 Diamond League champion's lone non-wind-assisted finals race in the distance in 2023.
Marcell Jacobs, the 2020 Olympic gold medallist, is listed in the field of eight for the 4:12 p.m. ET showdown and may finally make his outdoor season debut. He missed matchups against reigning world champion Fred Kerley in Rabat and Florence due to sciatica, pain that travels from the lower back through the hips and buttocks and down each leg.
Home fans will be excited to see French decathlete Kevin Mayer, who is competing in a "triathlon" event that includes the 110 hurdles, shot put and long jump.
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"I've enjoyed some great moments here, posting several personal-best performances," Mayer said in a story posted to the Wanda Diamond League website. His 17.08 effort at Charléty Stadium remains his shot put PB.
At 12:02 p.m. ET, Norwegian runner Jakob Ingebrigtsen will attempt to lower the world record in the men's 2-mile that has stood since 1997 when Kenya's Daniel Komen clocked 7:58.61 in Hechtel, Belgium.
Ingebrigtsen, the Olympic 1,500 and reigning world 5,000 title holder, has never run the 2-mile but has a decent chance to be successful with wave light technology and pacers in place for the race. He has run once outdoors in Paris, finishing fourth in the 1,500 in 2019.
Diamond League calendar
- Oslo, Norway — June 15
- Lausanne, Switzerland — June 30
- Stockholm — July 2
- Silesia, Poland — July 16
- Monaco — July 21
- London — July 23
- Shanghai — July 29
- Shenzhen, China — Aug. 3
- Zurich — Aug. 31
- Brussels — Sept. 8