World champion Marco Arop admits he needs to learn to celebrate his achievements as a runner. Although he broke loose with a gold medal victory lap at the National Athletics Center three weeks ago in Budapest, his mind quickly drifted to his next race.
“It’s funny, I’m not a big fan of celebrating. But I can’t celebrate yet,” said Arop, who placed second in a men’s 800-meter race a week after the World Cup at a Diamond League track meet in Xiamen. , Porcelain.
Arop admitted that he has reflected “for a few moments” on his first world title, which he wrote on a season goal paper earlier this year.
“It’s the best validation that everything I’ve worked so hard for is worth it and reinforces the idea that I can’t change focus,” he told CBC Sports as he prepared for the two-day final of the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League this weekend in Eugene. , Mineral.
Ranked second in the world, the Edmonton native qualified fourth for Sunday’s eight-man race at 3:04 p.m. ET. Live broadcast Coverage of the final begins at 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.
SEE | Arop captures gold in the 800 meters for the second consecutive world medal:
On Monday, Arop was busy with coach Chris Woods analyzing China’s race while battling a cold he caught after the competition.
Even though Arop ran a personal best of one minute and 43.24 seconds (just 4 hundredths of a second behind winner and world No. 1 Emmanuel Wanyonyi of Kenya), he and Woods determined that if it weren’t for some minor errors, it could have surpassed this year’s record. He was a world silver medalist and closed in on Brandon McBride’s Canadian record of 1:43.20.
“Some things he can clean up will put him in the right direction for Eugene,” said Woods, a former 800 runner who has guided Arop since 2019, when he became coach of the Mississippi State University track team. “They cut him off by about 400 meters and I think he could have run better tactically.
“At this level, a small mistake can cost a tenth of a second. We are constantly learning.”
SEE | Arop achieves a personal best of 1:43.24 in the Xiamen Diamond League:
Last September, Arop had just won world bronze when he made a move with one lap left in the Diamond League final in Zurich. He led the final stretch, but was caught by Kenyan Emmanuel Korir less than 10 meters from the finish line, finishing second behind the reigning Olympic champion with a season-best time of 1:43.38. He was fourth in 2021, with a time of 1:45.23.
Since his freshman year at MSU, Arop has had to work on his last 100 meters, trying to figure out his final kick or push.
“In so many races, I will feel very good in the last 200, 150, 100 [metres] and the last 50 I start to break down or [break] shape. Part of it may be mental,” the 24-year-old said. “Maybe it’s trying too hard to reach the finish line. I had the advantage and a lot of momentum. [last year in Zurich] entering the final curve.
“I remember thinking, ‘Just keep it together,’ and I heard the crowd noise level increase. I knew someone was [gaining ground on me]. At that time, I got a little nervous, I tried to push myself or work harder. There is a delicate balance in which it is advisable to strive but not overdo it. “It’s getting better, but there’s still a lot I can improve.”
The recent world final, during which Arop was “very tactical,” was one of his smartest races, according to Woods.
He has the potential, historically, to be one of the best two-turn athletes.— Coach Chris Woods on Canadian 800m runner and world champion Marco Arop
“He stayed composed and didn’t let the moment be bigger than him and his goal,” the coach said. “You could see the maturity, 1,000 percent.”
Woods highlighted the last four or five years of racing experience and the confidence Arop has gained has led him to find ways to win races, whether it’s outpacing others in the last 100 meters or coming out fast in a race and holding off to others.
“The easiest week I’ve ever had training Marco was the 10 days we were in Budapest,” Woods added. “He was very sure of himself.
“Marco has an incredibly high ceiling. We haven’t worked much on speed in recent years. He has the potential, historically, to be one of the best two-turn athletes.”
If Arop is crowned champion of the Diamond League, which includes a trophy and $30,000 in prize money, he would be the first from Canada since shot putter Dylan Armstrong in 2011.
“I feel like last year was really close,” he said, “and it left me hungrier than ever. The World Cup is fantastic and everything is above it, but finishing the season as Diamond League champion would solidify this year like my best year.”
“Ending the season on a good note would motivate me more. Once I’m at the top, I’ll have to work twice as hard to stay there.”
Mitton aspires to join the world silver medal
Sarah Mitton of Brooklyn, NS, is the only Canadian in action Saturday at Hayward Field, site of last year’s world championships, competing in the women’s shot put at 4:11 p.m. ET. Relay teammates Aaron Brown and Andre De Grasse run the men’s 200 meters on Sunday at 5:36 p.m.
Mitton, 27, secured one of six spots in the final, throwing 19.76 meters last week in Brussels to take second place behind world No. 1 and 2022 Diamond League champion Chase Ealey (20.05) from the United States.
The Canadian record holder, who placed second in last year’s final, beat Ealey on June 15 at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway, for her first Diamond League victory before capturing a silver medal at the Championships. World Athletics Championship.
SEE | Mitton stops the Olympic champion for the world silver medal:
De Grasse and Brown prepared for the final with their fastest 200+ meter races in two years: 19.89 and 19.98 seconds, respectively, in Brussels.
“It was exactly what I needed and it came at a great time because it reinforced my belief about the kind of shape I’m in and what’s possible for me going forward. [the 2024 Paris Olympics]”said Brown, who was disqualified in the 200 meters at the world championships due to a lane violation.
SEE | Is De Grasse saving his best race of the season for Eugene?
Asked what contributed to running under 20 seconds for the first time since his 19.99 in the Tokyo Olympic semi-finals on August 3, 2021, Brown said: “Running relaxed and not letting the environment dictate my execution “I acquired the habit of reacting.” my opponents and I’m working on refocusing on my own lane, managing my emotions and [race] execution.”
De Grasse, who won Olympic gold two years ago, was sixth (20.43) in last year’s season-ending race after battling COVID-19 and a toe injury. The 28-year-old sprinter from Markham, Ont., placed second in the double sprint at the 2021 finals.
Brown, 31, placed second to Noah Lyles (19.52) in the 200 in last year’s finals, posting a season-high 20.02 to edge Alex Ogando of the Dominican Republic in a photo finish. Brown had never finished in the event’s top three in the finals, placing fourth for four consecutive years between 2017 and 2021.
“I’ve been to Hayward [Field] many times and the feeling of familiarity is a great way to end the season,” Brown said, adding that he is excited for the finale to be in North America for the first time so his wife Preeya and son Kingsley can attend.
“Wait [organizers] They are able to take advantage of having worlds there last year in a large crowd [for Sunday’s race]”.
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