EUGENE, Ore. — Marco Arop continues his immense rise in the men’s 800 meter ranks.
The Edmonton native earned his first world championship medal with a bronze on Saturday at the world championships in athletics. For the 23-year-old, ranked fourth in the world, things have come full circle.
“This will hold a special place in my heart. First World Championship medal – it’s come full circle,” Arop said. “Starting with the world champions in Doha and making it to the final, not making the top three and not making it to the Olympic final.
“It’s just a great moment.”
Arop is only the second Canadian male to medal in the race for the world championships. Gary Reed won silver in 2007 in Osaka, Japan.
Finishing eighth at the World Indoor Championships in March, Arop began to build momentum by winning the Canadian National Championships and then posting the third fastest time in the world this season (1:43.61) ago. three weeks at the Pre-World Invitational Championships.
The bronze medal effort was not without fear as Arop had to hold off fourth place Emmanuel Wonyonyi of Kenya.
“Relief that I didn’t get caught on the line. I mean, I got caught, but I’m glad I got the medal.”
Emmanuel Korir of Kenya took gold with a time of one minute 43.71 seconds. Algerian Djamel Sedjati won silver crossing the line in 1:44.14.
Arop, who ran in 1:44.28, started the race steadily before finding himself tied with Wonyonyi at the start of the race.
“Part of me was just thinking, ‘relax, stay calm. You can always come back.'”
And he did. Arop took the lead around the 200m mark and managed to hold onto it for much of the way.
“I knew if I didn’t get out in 23 seconds I would have something left for the finish,” he said.
“Once I got in the lead I knew I had to act early otherwise Korir and Sedjati were going to come. I knew they could close hard. I made sure to make that move early (and) pull some people out of the race.
At the final turn, Korir started to push, as Arop seemed to slow down in the final 100m.
After losing the lead about 50 meters from the end, Arop was caught by Sedjati a few meters from the finish line.
Arop is looking forward to next year’s world championships where he feels he could do even better.
“Once I’ve done something, I feel like I could do it again,” he said. “I know next year will be even better and bigger and I think the focus will remain the same.”
Meanwhile, Damian Warner’s quest for a world decathlon title is over.
The 32-year-old from London, Ont., suffered a hamstring injury about 120 meters into the 400 on Saturday, the final event of day one.
The Canadian Olympic champion was the leader in the first four events of the day.
Pierce Lepage of Whitby, Ont., was second after Saturday’s opening day with 4,485 points. Puerto Rico’s Ayden Owens-Delerme took the lead after Warner’s injury.
Warner has never won world gold in the decathlon. He has one silver and two bronze medals.
At the Tokyo Olympics last summer, Warner shattered his Canadian record and became one of four decathletes in history to break the 9,000 point mark.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 23, 2022.
Abdulhamid Ibrahim, The Canadian Press