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Damian Warner says he can sense the optimism around Canada track and field athletes.

The country top athletics stars are in Ottawa this week for the Canadian track and field championships. They enter the competition riding a wave of success from the 2016 Rio Olympics that saw Canada win six medals in athletics, led by sprinter Andre De Grasse silver in the men 200 metres and bronze in the 100 and 4×100 relay.

Derek Drouin of Corunna won gold in high jump, while Warner and Brianne Theisen Eaton won bronze in decathlon and heptathlon, respectively.

the last little while it been really cool to see the transition, Warner said Wednesday. Andre, and the relay team and me and Derek and Brianne and (runner Melissa Bishop) doing really well. There a whole bunch of other people doing extremely well so it kind of cool to be a part of that whole excitement and whole trend and I think it going to continue to grow. will be competing in hurdles and long jump in Ottawa as a tune up for the decathlon at the world championships in London next month.

qualified in the decathlon right now so I looking to come out here and compete, said Warner. won the Canadian championships in hurdles in 2015 so I like to get that championship back. track and field enthusiasts will have a chance to see some of the country best this week as they compete for the opportunity to represent Canada at the world championships.

Drouin and De Grasse, who will defend his Canadian 100 metre title and run in the 200, will be joined by Bishop in the 800 metres and Shawn Barber and Alysha Newman in pole vault.

Drouin admits there is a challenge following an Olympic year, but he took some time off and feels confident after returning to action, and despite results not being exactly where he wants them.

been pretty much on par with where I been at in years past, but I always am expecting more, said Drouin, who’ll jump Saturday. I didn have the experiences of the last couple seasons of I knew this is where I was yet I was able to get to a certain point when it mattered I might be a little bit discouraged.

an athlete and always expect more, but it important to keep yourself in check and realize this is a journey and the real important meets are in a month and a half from now and I gearing for that and I confident with the progression. Gilbert, interim head coach at Athletics Canada and 1996 Olympic gold medallist in the 4×100 relay, says it exciting to see Canada making a name for itself on the world stage.

were some dark times, said Gilbert, who will be inducted into Athletics Canada Hall of Fame Wednesday night. won five, eight, six medals at the last three big world events and we never been in that place. This is a unique group of athletes that we have and it a unique time for Canadian athletics. part of Canada resurgence on the world stage is added incentive for 25 year old Genevieve Lalonde, who holds the Canadian record in 3,000 metre steeplechase.

the Pan Am Games when they were in Toronto until now and beyond we seen athletes coming from nowhere and breaking into that international scene and doing really well and having those high performances at major championships when it counts, said Lalonde. in Canada is growing and it exciting and we got a lot of athletes who are doing well so to be a part of that is just amazing. Wednesday, Jillian Drouin of Corunna finished in 15th place in the women’s heptathlon after failing to finish the final event, the 800 metres.

Drouin was in seventh place after six of seven events with 4,621 points.

She was eighth in the long jump (5.38 metres) for 665 points and ninth in the javelin (36.68 metres) for 604 points earlier Wednesday.

Nicole Oudenaarden of St. Albert,
adidas originals hoody Drouin expects more
Alta., won gold with 6,000 points.

With files from The Observer

LOCAL STARS

DAMIAN WARNER: The Olympic bronze medal decathlete is running the 110m hurdles and taking part in the long jump this week. In May, he won his 10 discipline season opener at Gotzis, Austria, (his third at the annual Hypo Meeting) with 8,591 points 104 shy of his Canadian record from the 2015 worlds in Beijing. He isn required to contest another decathlon until the worlds in August at London, England. Now training in Calgary, his only job is to show Athletics Canada he is though he probably win the hurdles crown.

ALYSHA NEWMAN: The Olympic pole vaulter rebounded from her first no height event in two years (at the Diamond League stop in Stockholm three weeks ago) to register a 4.65m, second place finish at Golden Spike Ostrava in Czech Republic. record holder Jenn Suhr. Newman, a Mother Teresa grad sponsored by Nike, holds the Canadian indoor and outdoor records, both established this season.

DEREK DROUIN: The Olympic champ is entered in the high jump competition but considers himself while dealing with a minor Achilles tendon issue. If you don think he can perform in that state, remember he won in Rio last year with a double stress fracture in his back. Like Warner, the Corunna native has always regarded himself as a multi event athlete and with good reason. In April, he scored a personal best 7,150 in a decathlon at a meet in Santa Barbara, Calif. His plan, he has indicated, is to represent Canada in the decathlon at the Commonwealth Games next year in the Gold Coast. His 2.28m high jump effort, of course, stands as the world record inside a decathlon. Warner holds world decathlon marks in the 100m dash and 110m hurdles.

LANNI MARCHANT: The Olympic history maker passed up the marathon at worlds to target the 10 km distance. That means running the 5k race in Ottawa Thursday to lock up her spot. This has been a turbulent year for the 33 year old lawyer. She mourned the loss of her father Roly, had surgery to remove a kidney stone recently and also spent two months in physiotherapy and strength training to fine tune her mechanics after four years of pain that led to cramping in her left calf. Marchant also signed an endorsement deal to become Under Armour clothing first professional runner in Canada. Two weeks ago, the Toronto resident took part in the 22nd annual Pride and Remembrance run in another tune up and finished top female.

CAROLINE EHRHARDT: The six time defending national triple jump champ knocked off a personal best 13.41m in the hop skip leap test at provincials, and she ready to soar some more in the nation capital. Only five Canadian women have gone further than the London Western club member. And she not alone. Clubmate Alicia Smith is a top notch performer, too. Ehrhardt also plans on representing the country at the Francophone Games, at the Ivory Coast in Africa,
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this month.