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Bell Trials: Day 4 Recap – Mitton Shocks in the Shot Put, Brown Edges Blake in 100m

Athletics athlete running at World Championships.

Day Four at the Bell Canadian Track and Field Championships was filled with finals, and will be remembered for its intense 100m matchups, its heated finishes in the 800m, and a world-leading performance in the shot put that made fans crowd the circle to witness history.

Here is a recap of the day’s events.

MITTON THROWS WORLDLEADING DISTANCEBREAKS HER OWN CANADIAN RECORD

Sarah Mitton let out a roar as she tossed her sixth and final throw in the women’s open shot put competition late in the morning. She stayed in the circle after the scream and stood quietly, mimicking the sea of fans who had gathered behind her and around the throws ring. They all waited in silence as an official measured the implement’s distance travelled.

“20.33,” yelled the official. The crowd erupted in claps and screams. Mitton, holding back tears, could only manage hi-fives. She had become the first Canadian woman to throw over 20 metres, breaking her own national record by nearly a full metre. Not only that: she became the world’s top shot putter of 2022, besting the formerly number one ranked Jiayuan Song of China by 13 centimetres.

“We manifested this,” she said, ten minutes after her victory. “My coach (Richard Parkinson) and I took a picture yesterday holding up 20 metres on the scoreboard. He said, don’t get too ahead of yourself, but I think that played into it: just believing that no matter what I could do it.”

Mitton now plans to compete in the Diamond League in Stockholm early next week, and then to return to Edmonton for the Pre-World Championship Invitational on July 3, as preparations for the World Athletics Championship in Eugene, Oregon.

TRAINING PARTNERS BROWN AND BLAKE PUT ON A SHOW

The two top male sprinters on the Bell Trials start list saved their best runs of the season for the Bell Trials semi-final. Aaron Brown, a two-time Olympic medalist in the 4x100m relay, made the crowd stand on its feet with a blazing run of 10.07 seconds. The 30-year-old appeared the clear favourite until his training partner Jerome Blake one-upped him in the following heat. Blake Canada’s fastest 100m of 2022 tied his personal best and stopped the clock at 10.00, before decelerating all the way into the long jump pit and raising his arms in triumph.

The final, however, reserved a different story. Brown, this time, showed his poise and held off Blake to win a seventh career national title in front of a packed stadium: his 10.16 edged out his rival’s 10.19. Brown, who has a lifetime best of 9.96, thinks he can run faster. He said he paid attention to Fred Kerley’s 9.73-second 100m victory at the USA Trials this weekend, but that the fast time does not faze him.

“I love competition, I don’t get intimidated anymore at this point of my career,” said Brown, 30. “I know what I can do… they might have run insanely fast, but once they get on that track, they have to do it again, and they have to do it in front of me. We’ll see. I love a challenge.”

KELLYAROP NARROWLY BEAT THEIR RIVALS IN 800M FINALS

Marco Arop and Brandon McBride, the two fastest 800m men in Canadian history separated only by 0.06 seconds, added a chapter to their years-long friendly rivalry at this year’s Bell Trials.

McBride may still hold the Canadian record of 1:43.20, but it was Arop, the 24-year-old Calgarian, who stole the show on Saturday night, took home gold in 1:44.39. Taking the lead on the second lap, Arop pulled McBride under the World standard, helping the 28-year-old from Windsor to run a season’s best of 1:45.15.

The women’s race was even tighter. Maddy Kelly of Hamilton edged out her own rival Lindsey Butterworth by 0.03 seconds, and ran to a time of 2:00.82. Kelly, whose personal best of 1:59.71 is still falls just short of World standard, said she hopes her world ranking will qualify her for the championship in Eugene.

“That was best case scenario,” said Kelly. the margin between Lindsey and myself isn’t huge, so it’s kind of ‘whichever way the wind blows… I’m happy it was me today.”

CAMRYN ROGERS REMAINS QUEEN OF THE HAMMER

Weeks removed from breaking her own Canadian record and setting the new mark at 77.67, Camryn Rogers once again proved her dominance in the hammer circle by putting two metres on the rest of the field and taking home a national title. Her best throw of 75.33 metres came on her fourth of six tosses.

“Today showed that we’re ready to go. I’m excited to get back in the circle in three weeks.”

The defending NCAA champion and senior for the California Golden Bears said she struggled not to lose focus mid-throw as she made eye contact with many supporters around the cage, including her parents.

“I feel like before stepping into the circle and trying so hard to maintain my composure and not crack a smile… to know I have so many incredible individuals in my corner is amazing.”

Rogers also congratulated her nearest competitor and Tokyo 2020 teammate Jillian Weir, who finished second in 73.12m. The pair of women are the only two Canadians to have eclipsed the World Championship standard of 72.50.

LOVETT GETS LOVE FROM HOME CROWD

The Township of Langley’s own Django Lovett handily won the men’s open high jump in front of a home crowd, leaping comfortably over a 2.20m bar.

The Tokyo Olympian, who recently returned from touring Europe on the Diamond League circuit, was the obvious competition favourite.

“The week in Langley has been a little overwhelming,” he said. (I had) so many family and friends here. It’s easy to get a little distracted, but in the best ways possible. You feel love and encouraged. It’s special.”

Lovett, whose personal best of 2.33m ranks him fourth in Canadian hs, called his jumping “just OK” despite the win, and said he plans to work on a few technical kinks before the World Championship in July.

STIVERNE WINS 400M, ENTERS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CONVERSATION

The 400m final was billed as a one-lap face-off between Lauren Gale, Kyra Constantine and Natassha McDonald – the only three Canadian women who had already qualified for the 2022 World Athletics Championships in the 400m. But Aiyanna Stiverne, the field’s fourth seed, had other plans. Running from lane 4, the 27-year-old edged out Gale by 0.40 seconds for first place, in a personal best time of 51.21. It was a PB by almost half a second, and bested the World Athletics standard of 51.35.

“I’m ecstatic,” said Stiverne. “I missed Tokyo last year, and obviously that took a bit of a toll on me. (Lately), I’ve been going day by day, not even thinking past the week. ”

Stiverne is already confirmed to compete at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in August, but she also hopes to be named to Team Canada for the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in July.

Photo and story courtesy of Athletics Canada.