BEIJING – When Cam Levins broke a Canadian record back in May, his prospects for the summer and the world track and field championships looked so bright.
But when Canada’s top distance runner fell in the 1,500 metres at the national championships a month later, his season went down with him.
The 26-year-old from Black Creek, B.C., bowed out of the world championships on Wednesday when he finished ninth in his heat of the 5,000 metres in 13 minutes 48.72 seconds, failing to advance.
“I’ve had (some) problems the last month and a bit,” Levins said. “Trying to keep it under wraps and continue to focus and do the best I can, but missed some training with a couple of different things, and obviously probably I just wasn’t fit enough.”
Mo Ahmed of St. Catharines, Ont., looked destined for the same fate. He finished third in his heat of the 5,000 in 13:19.58 but was initially disqualified for a collision that nearly knocked Britain’s Mo Farah, the 10,000-metre world champion, out of the race.
Athletics Canada appealed the decision and won, so Ahmed will race in Saturday’s final.
“Once I heard (Athletics Canada) were on the case and a protest was filed, I tried to just hope for the best and not waste too much energy fretting about the outcome,” Ahmed said.
Levins, meanwhile, was 14th in the 10,000 metres earlier in the meet and politely declined speaking with reporters that night. On Wednesday, he explained that since his crash at the national championships, he’s been dealing with a rib injury and an ankle injury.
He would have liked to head to Europe to continue racing, but instead, will shut down his season – a disappointing ending considering how it began. Coming off last summer that saw him win bronze at the Commonwealth Games, Levins ran 27 minutes 07.51 seconds in the 10,000 in May, breaking Simon Bairu’s Canadian record of 27:23.63 set in 2010.
“It’s just been a pain in my butt,” Levins said of the injuries. “I know that I have it, I know I have everything that I need when I’m fit.”
Melissa Bishop of Eganville, Ont., won her heat of the 800 metres to advance to the semifinal. The 27-year-old, who won gold at last month’s Pan Ams, is finally finding her form after a season of setbacks, including a sports hernia and an ankle injury.
“It was a really tough start to the year, we had two major injuries, I’m just so thankful to be here and be running strong, and be in shape and be at this level,” Bishop said. “As athletes we work so hard day in and day out to get here and it’s really nice to move on and get through the rounds safely. I’m really proud.”
Fiona Benson of Dawson Creek, B.C., finished third in her heat to clinch a spot in the semis.
Khamica Bingham of Brampton, Ont., and Kim Hyacinthe of Montreal were third in their respective heats of the women’s 200 metres to qualify for the semifinals.
“I just wanted to give it my all and make sure I made it to that semi,” said Bingham. “It was a little disappointing after the 100 for me, so I just wanted to go out there, execute my race well and make sure I guaranteed a spot.”
Crystal Emmanuel of Toronto failed to move on, finishing fourth in her heat – one of the oddest events of the night. Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown started the race in Lane 5, but finished fully in Lane 6. She wasn’t disqualified because she didn’t impede anyone. If she had, Emmanuel would have advanced.
Sultana Frizell of Perth, Ont., just missed qualifying for the women’s hammer throw final. The gold medallist at last summer’s Commonwealth Games threw 69.66 to finish 13th. The top 12 throwers moved on.