Edmonton Athletics: Warm-up for World Invitational July 3

Some of the world’s best track and field athletes will be in Edmonton on Sunday to compete in an international warm-up competition ahead of the world championships.

Athletics Canada’s World Championship Preparation Invitational Event will take place at Foote Field and will feature events including hurdles, relays and 100-metre and 800-metre sprints.

Team Canada is confirmed to participate in the event, which is part of the silver level continental circuit. Two local athletes hope to make their town proud.

Sprinter Malachi Murray, who grew up in Edmonton, didn’t initially expect to race on the track. That changed when he got involved with the St. Francis Xavier High School club.

“The track came out of nowhere for me,” Murray said. “At first, I forgot to hand in all my forms. I wasn’t going to come to the meeting, then my mother saw everything crumpled up in the bottom of my bag, and she was like, ‘What the hell? what is it?”

“She drove me to the office, and I ended up submitting my forms late, and they accepted them,” he told CTV News Edmonton.

He placed second at the provincial championships for the 100 meter sprint and made the 200 meter final.

“I kind of settled for that,” Murray said. “I’ve been running ever since, and that was seven years ago.”

He finished second last weekend at the Bell Canadian Outdoor Championships in Langley, BC, a personal best and news of being named to a senior team for the first time at the Commonwealth Games.

“I feel good,” Murray added. “It’s a huge deal for me.”

Murray hopes to continue his momentum in Edmonton.

“I’ve never run so fast before, so I’m just ready to perform on Sunday,” he said.

Fellow local star Marco Arop is also eagerly awaiting the chance to impress an Edmonton crowd.

Born in Sudan, Arop’s family fled the civil war-torn country and immigrated to Alberta’s capital. Although he practiced cross country in elementary school and other sports, it was not until the 12th grade that he was recruited for track and field.

“That’s when my basketball coach convinced me to run on the track, and I just jumped into it for fun,” Arop said. “After that first race, I was recruited into an athletics club, and it’s been history ever since.”

He made his Olympic debut in Tokyo where he competed in the 800 meters event, finishing seventh in the semifinals.

“Just being in Tokyo and competing on the highest stage of athletics was an honor,” Arop said. “I just can’t wait for my next one.”

Since then, he has collected two gold medals and a bronze in three Diamond League events. Last weekend he picked up a win at Langley.

“Winning a race on this scale was a huge confidence boost, added Arop. “I feel really good.

“It’s going to be nice to race at home for the first time in a long time.”

General admission tickets to watch the competition in Edmonton for adults are $25, youth $10, with a family pass for two youth and adults offered at $50. The action is due to start at noon.

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