Canada confirms race walk and marathon nominees for Tokyo

Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Doha 2019 - Men's 50 Kilometres Race Walk - Khalifa International Stadium, Doha, Qatar - September 29, 2019 Bronze medalist Canada's Evan Dunfee during the medal ceremony REUTERS/Ibraheem Al Omari

(Reuters) - Canadian race walker Evan Dunfee, the world championship 50km bronze medallist, and marathoners Trevor Hofbauer and Dayna Pidhoresky have been nominated for their events at the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Athletics Canada said on Tuesday.

The International Olympic Committee announced in March that athletes already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics would retain their spots at the Games, which were pushed back a year to July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021 due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“There has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding these Games for the past few weeks and we’re happy to put the focus on the outstanding achievements of our athletes today,” said Athletics Canada’s high performance director Simon Nathan in a statement.

“With a new time frame to work from, our athletes, coaches and staff have a new finish line to work towards and we are all looking forward to the time when we can get back on the track and the field and represent Canada.”

Dunfee, who is also the 2015 Pan American Games champion in the 20km race walk, bettered the Olympic 50 km race walk qualification standard of 3 hours, 50 minutes at a race in Japan last year, coming in one minute faster.

Hofbauer and Pidhoresky both met the nomination criteria by winning the 2019 Canadian Marathon Championships in Toronto last October.

Canada has two spots in the women’s marathon and although three runners have met the Olympic standard, Athletics Canada said it will wait to fill the entry.

“With so much time before the Games and the additional possibility of other athletes qualifying, we decided not to nominate anyone else for the women’s marathon at this time,” Nathan said.

Athletics Canada’s final list of nominations will be submitted to the Canadian Olympic Committee in 2021, closer to the Games.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis