Canada's Drouin does it again
MOSCOW — Derek Drouin wanted everyone to know his Olympic bronze medal last summer was no fluke.
He sent that message loud and clear Thursday at the world track and field championships, capturing another bronze in men’s high jump and setting a Canadian record in the process.
The native of Corunna, Ont., cleared 2.38 metres to finish behind Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine, who won gold with a jump of 2.41.
Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar took silver in 2.38 while reigning Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov of Russia finished fourth at 2.35.
“I wanted to prove this year that I deserved to be on the podium in London 2012, feels good to have accomplished that goal,” Drouin said.
Drouin’s bronze in at the London Olympics was the lone Canadian medal in track and field last summer, but he has company in Moscow. Decathlete Damian Warner (bronze) and heptahlete Brianne Theisen-Eaton (silver) have also been on the podium at the world championships.
“I was joking after that I never thought I would only place third jumping 2.38 metres, I’m certainly not disappointed, it was an incredible competition,” said Drouin. “I felt like 2.41 metres was attainable but it’s always emotional when you set a personal best, getting another one in the same competition was a daunting task. That height is definitely a realistic goal for me now.”
Matthew Hughes of Oshawa, Ont., also broke a Canadian record, placing sixth in the 3,000-metre steeplechase in 8:11.64. Kenya’s Ezekiel Kemboi won his third straight gold.
“With a lap to go I knew I was on pace for (the Canadian record),” said Hughes. “I tried to stay with the Kenyan pack and fight all the way. It was a huge relief when I saw the time come up on the board.”
Alex Genest of Lac-aux-Sables, Que., placed 13th. In men’s shot put, Dylan Armstrong of Kamloops, B.C., qualified seventh with a throw of 20.39.
“I have no clue what it will take to medal, that’s always a moving target,” said Armstrong. “It’s wide open. A lot of guys are in great shape, including me.”
Meantime, Sweden capped an eventful day with its first gold medal after one of its high jumpers set off a controversy over Russia’s anti-gay law in the morning with a rainbow-colored protest that drew pole vault great Yelena Isinbayeva into condemning homosexuality.
Abeba Aregawi won the closing 1,500 metres, beating defending champion Jenny Simpson of the United States with a great last-lap effort.
Earlier in the day, Aregawi’s teammate Emma Green Tregaro flaunted her rainbow-painted fingernails in the morning as she qualified for the weekend high jump final, a show of support of gays and lesbians in Russia.
It set off Isinbayeva, the Russian pole-vaulting star, who criticized homosexuality and defended the new anti-gay law which has drawn sharp criticism and led Western activists to call for a boycott of next year’s Winter Olympics in the Russian resort of Sochi.
The law means that anyone wearing a rainbow flag on the street or writing about gay relationships on Facebook, for instance, could be accused of propagandizing.
“We are just against the publicity in our country and I support our government,” Isinbayeva said.
Green Tregaro posted a picture of her fingers on social media website Instagram, saying “Nails painted in the colours of the rainbow.” She followed that with several hashtags, including “pride” and “moscow2013.”
“If we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people,” Isinbayeva said.