NEWS

Canadian Men's 4x100 Relay Team Bronze Caps Big Day For Canada At Track Worlds

08/29/2015 12:40 EDT | Updated 08/31/2015 08:59 EDT

BEIJING — The Canadian men's 4x100-metre relay team were on the right side of a disqualification this time.

Aaron Brown, Brendon Rodney, Andre De Grasse and Justyn Warner won the bronze medal at the world track and field championships Saturday after the Americans were disqualified for an illegal baton change.

It was redemption for the Canadians, who were denied a gold medal at the Pan Am Games earlier this year after they were disqualified following two American-led protests.

Canada was also disqualified in the event at the 2012 London Olympics, costing the team a bronze medal.

"It was nice, (head coach Peter Eriksson) told us to stay down on the track, there might have been a DQ,'' Warner said.

The dramatic bronze in the relay capped a big day for Canada, with decathlete Damian Warner and 800-metre runner Melissa Bishop capturing silver medals.

Canada will head into the final day of competition in Beijing with seven medals, two more than its previous best of five set two years ago in Moscow.

With Justyn Warner running the anchor leg in the relay, it appeared the Canadians would have to settle for fourth with a time of 38.13 seconds when China's last runner sprinted to an unexpected third-place finish.

But officials ruled that the Americans' third baton exchange occurred outside the zone, moving the host Chinese to silver and Canada to bronze.

The result gives De Grasse, a rising sprint star from Markham, Ont., two medals at his first world championships. De Grasse also took bronze in the men's 100 metres.

"I had an amazing season,'' De Grasse said. "To end it like that, my last run, I'm just happy we came out with the bronze.''

Usain Bolt and the powerful Jamaicans thundered to gold in 37.36 seconds.

In earlier action, Damian Warner, a 25-year-old from London, Ont., finished the decathlon by beating his own Canadian record with a total of 8,695 points. He finished behind Ashton Eaton of the United States, who set a world record at 9,045 points to win gold.

Germany's Rico Freimuth took bronze with 8,561 points.

Warner finished the final event, the 1,500 metres, in eighth with a time of four minutes 31.51 seconds. That gave him enough points to hold off Freimuth, but no one was going to catch Eaton. The American poured everything into the last 200 metres of his race to give him just enough points to break his own world record.

Warner won last month's Pan American Games in Toronto with a score of 8,659, shattering Mike Smith's 19-year-old Canadian record.

He was the world bronze medallist in 2013.

"I didn't have that little extra for the last couple of events,'' Warner said. "My legs just didn't want to co-operate but I broke the Canadian record once again, I can't really complain.''

Bishop, a 27-year-old from Eganville, Ont., crossed in 1:58.12 in a battle down the homestretch to take silver in the women's 800 metres.

Bishop had run 1:57.52 in the semifinals, breaking Diane Cummins' Canadian record that stood for 14 years.

"You have to learn how to go through these rounds,'' Bishop said. "In 2012 and 2013 I was still an immature athlete in the sense that I didn't know how to get through them, you live and you learn, and now I have the silver medal around my neck.''

Canada's previous best finish in the event at worlds was Cummins' fifth in 2001.

Marina Arzamasova of Belarus won the gold in 1:58.03, while Eunice Sum of Kenya took the bronze in 1:58.18.

Also Saturday, Canada's women's 4x100 relay team of Crystal Emmanuel of Pickering, Ont., Kim Hyacinthe of Terrebonne, Que., Isatu Fofanah of Edmonton and Khamica Bingham of Brampton, Ont., finished sixth in 43.05 seconds, setting a new Canadian record. Jamaica won gold, followed by the United States and Trinidad and Tobago.

And Mohammed Ahmed of St. Catharines, Ont., placed 12th in the men's 5.000 metres marking Canada's best finish ever in the event at the worlds. The previous best was Carey Nelson's 15th-place finish in 1987.

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