Athletics Canada has announced a 24 member team, headed by head coach Glenroy Gilbert, to compete at the 2021 World Athletics Relays Silesia21 on 1-2 May.

The nation will feature teams in both the men’s and women’s 4x100m, the women’s 4x400m and the mixed 4x400m, but has not selected a squad to race in the men’s 4x400m.

As part of the team’s preparations, members of the squad will take part in a pre-event training camp in Baton Rouge, La., to work on their baton changes and team chemistry.

“With relays in general, having a camp before heading into a major competition is paramount,” said Gilbert. “We do not get enough time with the athletes to work in different groups, and due to the global pandemic it has been well over a year since this group has trained or competed together.

“This camp will be essential in building back the group cohesiveness and unity, not to mention the skills required to run fast as a team.”

The event will kick-start the global track calendar which has been affected since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the campaign last year. The 2021 World Athletics Relays Silesia21 will bring together more than 1,000 athletes from 46 different nations who will compete as part of the over 150 relay teams.

This year’s event will also provide another pathway for countries to qualify for the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan, later this summer, in addition to the 2022 World Athletics Championships to be held in Eugene, Oregon.

“I know going into the Championships that Glenroy, our head coach, will convey the message of qualifying for Tokyo before anything else,” said sprinter Aaron Brown who will complete in the men’s 4x100m relay. “As one of the veteran leaders on this team, I echo that sentiment.

“Once we are in the finals, we want to compete for the top spot because we have the talent to do it. Win or lose we do it as a team, that is a philosophy that you do not truly internalize until you have been through the fire together.”

Canada women’s 4x400m team enters the 2021 World Athletics Relays Silesia 21 already assured of its place at the Tokyo Olympic Games, having finished eighth at the World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.

However, the nation’s three other relay teams will be heading to Silesian Stadium in Chorzow, Poland, hopeful to punch their tickets to this summer’s Games.

“We have a very talented group of women and that group continues to grow,” said Sage Watson who has anchored the women’s 4x400m team since 2016. “With the growth of the group as a whole, we have more depth at every leg of the relay and are comfortable with anyone stepping in compete.

“I think our initial goal at World Relays is to get us together after a year apart. Going into Poland, we need to take it step by step. The first step is making the final, and the next step is going for a medal.”

Canada Team For 2021 World Athletics Relays Silesia21:

4x100m: Khamica Bingham, Leya Buchanan, Crystal Emmanuel, Shaina Harrison, Farah Jacques, Audrey Leduc, Sade McCreath-Tardiel
4x400m: Alicia Brown, Micha Powell, Madeline Price, Zoe Sherar, Aiyanna Stiverne, Katherine Surin, Sage Watson

Mixed 4x400m: Alicia Brown, Austin Cole, Joshua Cunningham, Philip Osei, Micha Powell, Madeline Price, Zoe Sherar, Aiyanna Stiverne, Katherine Surin, Sage Watson

4x100m: Bolada Ajomale, Andre Azonwanna, Jerome Blake, Bismark Boateng, Aaron Brown, Brendon Rodney, Gavin Smellie

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