Dinos' Effah repeats as Canadian champ at 100m (with video)
CALGARY – Sam Effah is the winner, and still national champion, at 100 metres.
Effah cruised to his second straight Canadian title in the marquee event at the 2011 Canadian Track and Field Championships in his hometown, stopping the clock in 10.23 seconds to defend his gold medal won last year in Toronto.
The University of Calgary student did it in less-than-ideal conditions at Calgary's Foothills Athletic Park – just across the street from campus – with a temperature in the lower teens and a brisk westerly wind blowing across the straightaway. And he did it despite the added tension of a false start by the runner in the lane next to him, Toronto's Justyn Warner – who was expected to be Effah's main competition in the event.
Warner was disqualified from the event after a blatant false start under the new 'one-and-done' rule now in effect. New Haven, PEI's Jared Connaughton finished second in 10.31 seconds, while Aaron Brown of Toronto crossed the line third in 10.39 seconds.
"It felt like Justyn should have been there, so that's too bad," said Effah moments before receiving his gold medal from Canadian sprinting legend Donovan Bailey. "But the crowd tonight was great. All my family and friends and supporters were here, and I could hear them cheering me all the way down the track."
Competing in his hometown, Effah's cheering section was significant in the packed stands at the recently renovated track facility.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Effah's performance Friday was his journey to the hometown title. He exploded onto the Canadian sprinting scene in 2010 with a clocking of 10.06 at a meet in Florida, making him the fourth-fastest 100-metre sprinter in Canadian history. After struggling through the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India last October, Effah entered his final CIS season with the Dinos in 2010-11 with a nagging leg injury that kept him from winning his fourth-straight CIS title in the 60 metres.
Despite the injury, Effah was named the CIS male track athlete of the year for the fourth straight season.
Effah's coach, Brenda Van Tighem of the University of Calgary Athletic Club, was pleased with the result.
"It's only his fourth race this season, and this time is ahead of where he was at this time last year," she said. "The times across the board were all slower, lots of these guys have run around 10.2 down south in the heat, so that gives you an indication of the conditions here."
Calgary will also play host to the Canadian Olympic trials next year – where Effah will get the chance to achieve his dream of representing Canada at London 2012. But first, there is a plethora of international events on the schedule – including the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, Korea and the PanAm Games in Guadalajara, Mexico – both later this summer.
The 2011 Canadian championships wrap up Saturday, with a live CBC broadcast from 2-4 p.m. local time.
Calgary Sports info