Canada Women’s football team has qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics where they would defend their title, after defeating Jamaica in the qualifiers.
Canada defeated Jamaica 2-1. Combined with a 2-0 win on Friday, Canada won the two-game series 4-1 on aggregate and has qualified for next summer’s Olympics.
Head coach Bev Priestman went with the same starting lineup as she did Friday, with one change.
Just 90 seconds into the game, Cloé Lacasse cut in and fired a shot that had Jamaica goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer at full stretch to make the catch.
Jamaica opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when midfielder Drew Spence, from 25 yards out, twirled a wonderful free-kick into the top corner of Canada’s goal for a surprising 1-0 lead.
Some minutes later, Adriana Leon curled in a corner kick that Lacasse headed home her second career goal for the national team. That leveled the playing field.
“The atmosphere tonight was absolutely unreal,” said Leon. “It’s such a privilege to play at home. I know everyone really enjoyed the 29,000 people that came out.”
Bev Priestman who was satisfied with her side’s performance said after the match.
“I think their fearlessness, blended in with some really good, experienced players is a great recipe to keep this team hungry and keep pushing,” said Priestman. “If we don’t have character, we’ve lost the heart of this team.”
Recall that, on the opening night of these World Championships, Bol fell face-down a couple of meters short of securing Dutch victory in the mixed 4x400m.
This time, she took over the baton on the last leg a couple of meters behind the Jamaican and British last-leg runners, Stacey Ann Williams and Nicole Yeargin, and by the back straight the gap between her and the leader was about 10 meters.
The Jamaicans, who had qualified fastest in 3:22.74, the fastest time recorded this season were edging close to victory.
They had Candice McLeod, seventh in the individual 400m final, and Janieve Russell, seventh in the 400m hurdles final, both of whom won Olympic 4x400m bronze in Tokyo.
But Bol took a superb charge and edged passed Yeargin and Williams to bring the baton home in 3:20.72.
Jamaica took silver in 3:20.88, with Britain taking bronze in 3:21.04.
Speaking about her performance, Femke said:
“The first three legs went so well, I felt like I had to finish as strongly as I could. I wanted to stay patient, but in the last meters I said ‘No, we have to take it’.”
“It was one of my most important runs ever, but it is the first time we became world champions so it applies for all of us. Every tenth and hundredth of a second was needed. We had good exchanges and still barely won it.”
Canada, anchored by Grace Konrad, finished fourth in 3:22:42 ahead of Belgium in 3:22.84.
While Canada had many reasons to smile, American sprinter, Sha’Carri Richardson’s hopes of competing in the Tokyo Olympics were shattered due to a positive marijuana test, won the 100-meter global title on Monday night, firmly establishing herself as a medal contender for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
In a lightning-quick 10.65 seconds at the World Athletics Championships at the National Athletics Centre, Richardson, 23, ate up the track.
Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, two great Jamaican sprinters who came in second and third, were completely surprised by Richardson’s victory.
“I’m honored, I’m blessed, I had great competition, [which] pulled the best out of me, and I’m just honored to leave with a gold medal,” she told reporters after the race.
Richardson committed to continuing to develop.
“I’m going to stay humble,” she said. “I’m not back. I’m better, and I’ll continue to be better.”
It was the first women’s 100-meter world championship by won by an American since 2017, when Tori Bowie successfully accomplished the feat..
The fact that Richardson qualified for the 100-meter final after placing third in her semifinal heat and missing out on one of the two automatic slots made it an impressive feat.
Richardson took her time getting out of the starting blocks and lost some time as she strayed slightly to the right. However, she came in strong, and her 10.84 in the semifinals—the best of anyone who wasn’t in the top two—got her into the final.
“She was more than capable of running 10.65; we knew that,” said her agent, Renaldo Nehemiah, himself a former world class sprinter and hurdler. “We just knew that running it on the biggest stage in the world is a lot harder than just saying it.”
Richardson’s performance on Monday night was a significant improvement from the previous year’s U.S. Track and Field Championships, when he was unable to go past the 100-meter heats.
“I’m just so proud of her, because a year ago we were light-years away from a full package of being able to compete at this level, and she’s put in the work,” Nehemiah said.
When Richardson won the 100-meter race in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon, in 2021, it seemed as though she had already punched her ticket to the Covid-delayed Tokyo Games.
But because she tested positive for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, she was suspended and missed Tokyo.
Richardson said she used the medication to help her deal with the trauma of her mother’s unexpected death while taking responsibility for her conduct.
After winning the U.S. 100-meter gold last month, she was already seen as a frontrunner to earn a spot in the Paris Olympics.
Richardson expressed her desire for her experiences on the track to inspire viewers to appreciate athletes for more than just their performance.
“It felt amazing just knowing that not only [do] people see me as an athlete but as a person,” she said. “I want people to see that it goes beyond [being an] athlete, You bring who you are onto the track. You bring your athlete into your life.”