5 Team Canada things to watch this weekend: May 5-7
There is so much for Team Canada fans to be excited about this weekend!
On Friday, the first Diamond League stop of the season will be underway in Doha, Qatar where a couple of Canada’s star sprinters will lead the charge.
There will be high flying thrills all weekend in Montreal as the city hosts the second stage of the World Aquatics Diving World Cup. It’s an opportunity to catch Canada’s best divers in action, many of whom are expected to represent Team Canada at Paris 2024.
Plus, the IJF World Judo Championships will begin on Sunday and continue throughout the week. Canada boasts several world medallists who are looking to add to their trophy cases.
Here are five sports you’ll want to keep an eye on so you don’t miss a thing:
The next stop of the World Aquatics Diving World Cup starts on Friday in Montreal. After the retirements of many veterans who were part of Canada’s diving heyday, some younger athletes born this millennium have already started storming international podiums.
That is the case for Mia Vallée. At 22, she is the reigning women’s world silver medallist on 3m springboard. She also won bronze at last year’s world championships on the 1m springboard. She’ll have the rare opportunity to compete in front of her family and friends after being on the NCAA circuit during the school year.
Other Canadians to watch include Rylan Wiens, 21, and Nathan Zsombor-Murray, 20, teammates in the men’s 10m synchro event who won bronze at the last world championships. They’re also medal contenders in the men’s individual 10m platform event.
Experienced Olympians Caeli McKay and Celina Toth will compete individually in the women’s 10m platform. McKay, who previously competed alongside the now-retired Meaghan Benfeito in 10m synchro, will now partner with Kate Miller. Springboard specialist Pamela Ware will be participating in her first major event since Tokyo 2020. She’ll team up with Vallée in 3m synchro in addition to taking part in the individual women’s 3m event.
Friday will feature the finals in men’s 10m synchro and women’s 3m synchro. Saturday flips it, with the finals for men’s 3m synchro and women’s 10m synchro. The individual event finals in 3m springboard and 10m platform will all take place on Sunday, along with a mixed team event.
The entire competition will be streamed live on CBCSports.ca.
Brown distinguished himself in the 200m during last year’s circuit, posting a third place and two fifth place finishes before winning the silver medal at the Diamond League Final. De Grasse saw his 2022 slowed a bit by COVID-19 and is ready to show what he is capable of early this season. Both men competed in the Botswana Golden Grand Prix as a tune-up last Saturday. Brown clocked 20.00 seconds, his fastest time since 2021 when he ran 19.99 in the semifinal at Tokyo 2020.
The Diamond League series includes 14 one-day track and field meets, culminating in the Diamond League Final in Eugene, Oregon in mid-September. Other Canadian athletes who will join the circuit this season include Camryn Rogers, Sarah Mitton, Marco Arop, and Mohammed Ahmed.
After a string of strong results in Grand Slam competitions, Canadian judokas will be looking to get back on the podium at the IJF World Judo Championships, which start on Sunday in Doha, Qatar.
On the women’s side, the Canadian contingent has several serious podium contenders. Catherine Beauchemin-Pinard, silver medallist at last year’s worlds, is currently ranked second in the world in the women’s 63kg category. Christa Deguchi and Jessica Klimkait have both been world champion of the women’s 57kg event. They currently ranked second and third in the world in that weight class.
Canada also has a couple of contenders in the men’s 100kg event. Shady El Nahas is ranked fourth in the world, one spot ahead of Kyle Reyes, the reigning world silver medallist. Arthur Margelidon (73kg) and François Gauthier-Drapeau (81kg) have enjoyed some recent international success as well.
The tournament in each weight category takes place over one day. The women’s 57kg and men’s 73kg events will take centre stage on Tuesday. Wednesday will see the judokas in the women’s 63kg and men’s 81kg events on the tatami. The men’s 100kg event will be held next Friday.
There are 23 Canadians competing at the Pan American Wrestling Championships which will run until May 6 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Justina Di Stasio is one of the headliners in the women’s 76kg event. She is a four-time gold medallist at the Pan Am Championships who also won gold at the 2019 Pan Am Games and the 2018 World Championships. Di Stasio would love to stand on the top step of the podium again after a bronze medal last year.
All women’s Olympic program events will be contested on Friday. In addition to Di Stasio, the Canadian entries in those events are Madi Parks (50kg), Samantha Stewart (53kg), Hannah Taylor (57kg), Ana Godinez Gonzalez (62kg), and Olivia Di Bacco (68kg). The men’s freestyle events Olympic program events will all be contested on Saturday. You can see the full list of Canadian athletes competing here.
The Canadian foil and epée teams will be competing around the world. The women’s foil team are in Plovdiv, Bulgaria for a World Cup. Eleanor Harvey and Jessica Guo are athletes to watch, currently occupying the 10th and 11th spots in the world rankings. The men’s foil team is at their own World Cup in Acapulco, Mexico. The individual events will finish on Saturday, to be followed by team events on Sunday.
The epée specialists will participate in a Grand Prix event in Cali, Colombia until Sunday. The Canadian team includes Alexanne Verret who won bronze at the World Cup in Vancouver last December.