Oshawa’s Hughes, Kelowna’s Gay qualify for 3,000-metre Olympic Steeplechase final


Published July 30, 2021 at 6:32 pm


The dream of an Olympic medal is still alive for Oshawa Steeplechaser Matt Hughes, who qualified as the seventh-fast runner for Monday’s field of 15 in the Olympic final.

Hughes finished fourth in his qualifying heat in Tokyo yesterday with a time of 8:13.56 to easily make the cut. Teammate John Gay, running in the second heat, also qualified for the final despite finishing sixth in his group. Gay’s personal best time of 8:16.99 in the race placed him 11th overall – two seconds faster than the fastest time in the slower third heat.

Hughes, 31, is the Canadian record holder in the event. The former Paul Dwyer High School runner is a six-time Canadian champion and two-time NCAA champ in the gruelling Steeplechase, which includes hurdles and water hazards with its 3,000-metre distance.

Hughes, who finished 10th in Rio, won the gold medal at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.

In other Durham Region-related Olympic news, the Women’s National Soccer team beat Brazil on penalties in a thrilling quarter-final match early this morning, with ‘keeper Stephanie Labbe making two huge saves to preserve the win.

Local players Allysha Chapman (Courtice), Nichelle Prince (Ajax) and Jayde Riviere (Pickering) all featured in the game.

The squad will play the Americans in Monday’s semi-final.

In field hockey action, the Red Caribou men’s team had a disappointing 0-4 start to the tournament but managed a come-from-behind 4-4 draw with South Africa in the final game for both teams.

Pickering’s Keegan Pereira scored in the first half with a smashing drive, his second goal of the tournament.

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