True excellence lacking at Nationals

STEVE BUFFERY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

The Canadian track and field championships at Varsity Stadium this past week provided some exciting moments, particularly in the women's 100-metre hurdles. But truly excellent performances were few and far between.

Only four athletes achieved the necessary standard to qualify for the world championships in Berlin in August. Further to that, no Canadian records were toppled at the event.

Canadian records are generally not set at national championships, but, in some events, performances at the national level have deteriorated dramatically from years past.

DECADES AGO

Indeed, the final day of the competition yesterday featured a number of events where the Canadian records were set years, if not decades, ago.

Nathan Brannen of Cambridge upset Taylor Milne of Guelph to win the men's 1500 metre final in 3:47.73. The Canadian record in the event is 3:31.71 set by Brantford's Kevin Sullivan in 2000. Sullivan, who finished fifth in the 1500 final at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, is still competing but couldn't run at this year's Canadians because of an injured Achilles.

Rising star Robin Watson of Guelph won the men's 3000 steeplechase in 8:32.87, and, in fact, may gain entry to the world championships as a 'Rising Star' selection by Athletics Canada.

'RISING STAR'

The Canadian record in that event is 8:12.58, held by Vancouver's Graeme Fell, set 24 years ago. Fell also holds the Canadian championship record, 8:25.82, set in 1986.

The four athletes who have now qualified for the worlds are hurdlers Perdita Felicien of Pickering and Priscilla Lopes-Schliep of Whitby, shot putter Dylan Armstrong of Kamloops and hammer thrower Sultana Frizell of Perth, Ont.

The only teams to qualify for the worlds this weekend were the men's 4x100 metre relay team and women's 4x400 metre squad.

More athletes can be added until the end of July, if they make standards.


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