Bydgoszcz, Poland - All four Canadian teams finished in the top ten at today's International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Cross Country Championships. The senior women's team placed eighth, the junior men and senior women placed ninth while the junior men's team placed tenth.
In the senior men's 12km race Mohammed Ahmed of St. Catharines, Ont., led the team to a ninth place finish, Ahmed crossed the finish line in 22nd place overall in 33:56. "I got out waiting, the pace was slow which was awesome, I felt great until the final two laps." He adds: "The hill in the last couple laps was the toughest and I was moving backwards but slowly; I was battling hard but it was impossible to make up ground at the end of the race with the slippery conditions and pace of the leaders. It was a good performance but I am disappointed as I was aiming for a top 16 finish."
Chris Winter of Vancouver B.C. was the second Canadian to cross the finish line in the men's senior race placing 33rd in 34:15. "The entire week was amazing, the confidence the team showed going into this event definitely helped drive my performance. I was able to stay relaxed and execute my job. I never felt this good in my life, 10km felt easy and the race really started in the last 2km."
The senior women's team surprised themselves with individual 24th and 25th place finishes over 8km by Natasha Fraser of Port Moody, B.C. and Rachel Cliff of Vancouver, B.C., both finished in 25:30. The team met their objective with an 8th place finish overall in the team standings. "Individually I am super stoked and excited", comments Natasha Fraser. She adds "to finish in the top 25 is amazing and I am so excited."
Rachel Cliff adds "I am shocked and so excited for the team and Natasha and I. We are from the same area and worked together aiming to go hard and push for a top 50 finish. To be in the top 25 makes me speechless, it all came together."
The junior men's team placed 10th overall. Benjamin Flanagan of Kitchener, Ont., led the junior men's 8km race with an individual finish of 34th in 23:21. "I couldn't be happier with mine or the team's performance", explains Flanagan. He adds "It was a fast race and I was aiming for a top 50 performance." Kingsville, Ont.'s Ryan Sleiman finished in 43rd with 23:32 and Troy Smith of Grimsby, Ont., in 53rd with 23:40.
In the junior women's 6km race the team finished 9th overall. Madeline Yungblut of Wroxeter, Ont., led the women finishing in 46th with 20:34. Madeline McDonald of Toronto, Ont., was 47th in 20:36 and Jillian Forsey of Kippens, NFLD., was 49th with 20:40.
For complete results visit: Athletics.ca.