Athletics Canada selects 24 athletes to compete at 2021 World Relays

·3 min read
Aaron Brown is seen above at the World Relays in 2017. Brown was one of 24 athletes chosen by Athletics Canada on Wednesday to compete at the 2021 edition in May.   (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images/ - image credit)
Aaron Brown is seen above at the World Relays in 2017. Brown was one of 24 athletes chosen by Athletics Canada on Wednesday to compete at the 2021 edition in May. (Matthew Lewis/Getty Images/ - image credit)

Athletics Canada announced Wednesday the 24 athletes who have been selected to represent Canada at the 2021 World Athletics Relays in Chorzow, Poland, on May 1 and 2.

The 2021 edition of the event marks the first global track event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and will bring together more than 1,000 athletes from 46 different nations to compete as part of 153 relay teams.

World Relays offers teams their final opportunity to qualify for the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the 2022 world athletics championships being held in Eugene, Ore.

Canada will send 10 men and 14 women to the event which will be held at Silesian Stadium. The Canadian entry is headlined by sprinters Aaron Brown and Crystal Emmanuel along with hurdler Sage Watson.

Three-time Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse is the one notable absence from the Canadian team. There was no immediate word on the reason for his absence.

The long leg between competitions is something that the team's head coach Glenroy Gilbert is not taking lightly.

"Globally, everyone has struggled over the past year, but in Canada we have faced a number of challenges, including several lockdowns and a lack of training space for our athletes, that other countries have not," Gilbert in a press release.

"We are looking to get everyone up to speed as quickly as we can, ... field a strong squad at World Relays and secure a spot in the final of each event, which will allow us to build out our team through the Olympic program this summer."

Brown understands the top priority will be to secure spots in Tokyo.

"I know going into the [World Relays] that Glenroy will convey the message of qualifying for Tokyo before anything else," said Brown. who will suit-up for the men's 4x100-metre relay.

"As one of the veteran leaders on this team, I echo that sentiment. Once we are in the finals, we want to compete for the top spot because we have the talent to do it. Win or lose we do it as a team, that is a philosophy that you do not truly internalize until you have been through the fire together."

Together, Canadian athletes will be aiming for a share of the $449,000 US prize pot and the Golden Baton, which is awarded to the team who tallies the most points across the two days of action.

The 24 Canadians will gather for a training camp in Baton Rouge, La., before travelling to Poland.

Canadian roster

  • Bolade Ajomale, Richmond Hill, Ont., 4x100 metre.

  • Andre Azonwanna, Toronto, 4x100.

  • Khamica Bingham, Caledon, Ont., 4x100.

  • Jerome Blake, Kelowna, B.C., 4x100.

  • Bismark Boateng, Brampton, Ont., 4x100.

  • Aaron Brown, Toronto, 4x100.

  • Alicia Brown, Ottawa, women's and mixed 4x400.

  • Leya Buchanan, Mississauga, Ont., 4x100.

  • Austin Cole, Sherwood Park, Alta., mixed 4x400.

  • Joshua Cunningham, Scarborough, Ont., mixed 4x400.

  • Crystal Emmanuel, Toronto, 4x100.

  • Shaina Harrison, Vaughan, Ont., 4x100.

  • Farah Jacques, Gatineau, Que., 4x100.

  • Audrey Leduc, Quebec City, 4x100.

  • Sade McCreath-Tardiel, Ajax, Ont., 4x100.

  • Philip Osei, Toronto, Ont., mixed 4x400.

  • Micha Powell, Montreal, women's and mixed 4x400.

  • Madeline Price, Toronto, women's and mixed 4x400.

  • Brendon Rodney, Etobicoke, Ont., 4x100.

  • Zoe Sherar, Kitchener, Ont., women's and mixed 4x400.

  • Gavin Smellie, Brampton, Ont., 4x100.

  • Aiyanna Stiverne, Laval, Que., women's and mixed 4x400.

  • Katherine Surin, Montreal, women's and mixed 4x400.

  • Sage Watson, Medicine Hat, Alta., women's and mixed 4x400.