Edmonton to host elite track athletes competing in world championship warm-up event
Some of the world's best track and field athletes will be in Edmonton Sunday to participate in an international warm-up competition before the world championships.
Athletics Canada Warm-Up to Worlds Invitational event will be at Foote Field and feature events including hurdles, relays, and 100-metre and 800-metre dashes.
Team Canada is confirmed to attend the event, which is part of the silver-level Continental Tour. Two local athletes are hoping to make their city proud.
Sprinter Malachi Murray, who grew up in Edmonton, didn't initially expect to run track. That changed when he became involved in St. Francis Xavier High School's club.
"Track kind of came out of nowhere for me," Murray said. "Initially, I forgot to hand in all my forms. I wasn't going to come to the meet, and then my mom saw it all crumpled at the bottom of my bag, and she's like, 'What's this?'
"She marched me down to the office, and I ended up handing in my forms late, and they accepted them," he told CTV News Edmonton.
He placed second in provincials for the 100-metre sprint and made the 200-metre final.
"I kind of just stuck with it," Murray said. "I've been running ever since, and that was seven years ago."
He finished second last weekend at the Bell Canadian Outdoor Championships in Langley, B.C., a personal best, and the news of being named to a senior team for the first time at the Commonwealth Games.
"I'm feeling great," Murray added. "It's a huge deal for me."
Murray hopes to continue his strong momentum in Edmonton.
"I've never run this fast before, so I'm just ready to perform Sunday," he said.
Fellow local star Marco Arop is also looking forward to the chance to impress an Edmonton crowd.
Born in Sudan, Arop's family fled the country plagued by civil war and immigrated to Alberta's capital city. While he was involved in cross-country from elementary and other sports, it wasn't until Grade 12 that he was recruited for track and field.
"That was when my basketball coach convinced me to run track, and I just jumped in it for fun," Arop said. "After that first race, I was recruited to a track club, and ever since then, it's just been history."
He made his Olympic debut in Tokyo where he competed in the 800-metre event, finishing seventh in the semi-final.
"Just being in Tokyo and competing on the high stage of track and field was an honour," Arop said. "I just can't wait until my next one."
Since then, he has collected two gold medals and a bronze at three Diamond League events. Last weekend he earned a win in Langley.
"To win a race at that scale was a great confidence booster," Arop added. "I'm feeling really good.
"It's going to be nice to race at home for the first time in a long time."
General admission tickets to watch the competition in Edmonton for adults are $25, $10 for youth, with a family pass for two youth and adults offered at $50. Action is scheduled to begin at noon.