Alysha Newman of London, Ontario and Mohammed Ahmed of St. Catharines, Ontario set the Canadian records in the women’s pole vault and men’s 5000 metres respectively in various track and field competitions this past week. Ahmed set the Canadian record in the men’s 5000 metres at a Diamond League event in Rome with a time of 12 minutes, 58.16 seconds on Thursday and Newman set the Canadian record in the women’s pole vault with a clearing of 4.76 metres at the Speed River Inferno Track and Field Meet from Guelph, Ontario on Friday. Ahmed and Newman both broke their own individual records.
In the men’s 5000 metres in Rome, Ahmed finished in sixth place. It was an Ethiopian sweep of the medals as Telahun Haile Bekele won the gold medal with a time of 12:52.98, Selemon Barega won the silver medal with a time of 12:53.04 and Hagos Gebrhiwet won the bronze medal with a time of 12:54.92. It was the first time that Ahmed broke the 13 minute barrier as his previous Canadian record was 13:01.74 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon on May 28, 2016.
In the women’s pole vault, there were five athletes in the competition and four of them Canadian. Erika Fiedler of Kitchener, Ontario won the silver medal with a clearance of 3.96 metres and Rachel Wolfs of Southwold, Ontario won the bronze medal with a clearance of 3.96 metres as well. Fiedler won the silver because she had two fewer missed attempts than Wolfs. Newman’s previous Canadian record was 4.75 metres set at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. The Canadian records set by Newman and Ahmed will give them confidence as they prepare for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The world record holder in the men’s 5000 metres is Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, who set the record of 12:37.35 at the Thales FBK-Games in Hengelo, Netherlands on May 31, 2004. The world record holder in the women’s pole vault is Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia, who set the record of 5.06 metres at the Zurich Golden League competition in Switzerland on August 28, 2009.