By Lori Ewing
THE CANADIAN PRESS
BEIJING _ Four medals into what could be Canada’s most successful world track and field championships in history, Brendon Rodney said there’s a new attitude among the team.
The 23-year-old from Brampton, Ont., advanced to the semifinal of the men’s 200 metres Tuesday, and afterward talked about Canada’s quest to be the best.
“I think us young guys all have the same mentality, me, Aaron (Brown), Andre (De Grasse) . . all the young guys, up and coming,” Rodney said. “We’re all trying to be the best in the world, to go out there and compete.
“We’re not really riding a wave here. It was our mentality already.”
Rodney ran a personal-best 20.18 seconds to finish third in his heat, automatically moving on to Wednesday’s semis that will be without Canada’s 20-year-old sprint sensation Andre De Grasse.
De Grasse raced to a stunning 100-metre bronze medal Sunday night, and could have contended for a second medal in the 200 metres _ the 19.88 he ran at last month’s Pan American Games ranks him No. 3 in the world behind American Justin Gatlin and Jamaica‘s Rasheed Dwyer.
Coming off a busy season that saw him run three events at both the NCAA championships and the Pan Ams, the 20-year-old had never planned on running the 200 here.
His medal was one of four Canada captured two days into the world championships. Shawn Barber won gold in the pole vault, Brianne Theisen-Eaton claimed silver in the heptathlon and Ben Thorne was third in the 20-kilometre race walk.
Among Canada’s medal hopes with five days to go: Damian Warner in the decathlon, high jumper Derek Drouin, Christabel Nettey in the long jump and the men’s 4×100-metre relay.
Brown, a semifinalist in the 100 in Beijing, was fourth in his 200 heat Monday in 20.43 and didn’t move on. The Toronto native complained of a flu bug that he’d been hit with the previous night.
“I’m a little under the weather,” he said. “I tried to get as much energy as I could, but I just didn’t have it today. I did my best, but came up short.”
Brown, the previous national record-holder in the 200 before De Grasse broke it twice this season, said he should be fine by Saturday’s 4×100 relay.
“I’m just going to rest up, take some medicine, sleep,” Brown said.
Edmonton’s Carline Muir, on the mend from a stress fracture in her knee that derailed most of her season, didn’t advance out of her semifinal in the women’s 400 metres, finishing eighth in 52.31.
“I couldn’t do anything until March when we went on our training camp to St. Kitts, that’s when I actually started jogging on the track,” Muir said. “So overall, I think my season was OK. I can take that for sure.”
Muir’s career was full of promise in 2008 in Beijing, when she made the semifinal of the women’s 400, as the youngest member of Canada’s team. But she’s had a rocky few years of coaching changes and injuries and spent some time away from the sport.
She said the Rio Games are a “huge” target, and looks forward to going in healthy.
“I’m definitely looking toward the final and having a full season this time, and not starting my season four months before I actually have to come to a major championship,” she said.