Edmonton - Four Olympic hopefuls are competing in the men’s 1500-metres at the National Track League’s Donovan Bailey Invitational (DBI). Canada’s best, Nate Brannen and Taylor Milne, will take on Dawit Wolde of Ethiopia and Peter van der Westhuizen of South Africa
. Supporters can come and cheer on their Canadian athletes at Foote Field Saturday, June 16, between 1:30 - 4:30 PM. Tickets are available at athleticsfestival.com
Nate Brannen from Cambridge, Ontario raced to a new personal best (3:34.22) and met the Olympic A+ qualifying standard (3:35.50) at the IAAF World Challenge Fanny Blankers-Koen Games in Hengelo, Netherlands on May 27. “I'm excited to be running in the City of Champions, and I’m looking forward to a great race," says Brannen. "The DBI will serve as my final tune up before the Canadian Trials."
A 2008 Olympian, Brannen won silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and competed in Edmonton at the 2001 World Championships in the 800-metres. Following the DBI, Brannen will head south to Calgary for the Canadian Track and Field Trials where he’ll look to defend his title in the 1500-metres and punch his ticket to the 2012 London Games.
Finishing ahead of Brannen in a new personal best of 3:33.82 at the Fanny Blankers-Koen competition was Ethiopia’s Dawit Wolde. He joins a long list of African distance running superstars.
"We’re thrilled to feature a world-class field in the men's 1500-metres and couldn't be happier to showcase Canada's premier 1500m runners, Brannen and Milne, going against their African rivals Wolde and van der Westhuizen,” says Peter Ogilvie, Meet Director of the Donovan Bailey Invitational. “It’s going to be an amazing race to watch as we expect these athletes to battle it out and dip under 3:34.00 in front of a capacity crowd."
Taylor Milne, from Callander, Ontario, competed in the 2008 Olympics and comes to the DBI looking to earn his Olympic A qualifying standard. Milne, who finished second to Brannen at the 2011 Canadian Championships, has a personal best of 3:36.00. He holds the Canadian record in the 2000-metres.
Peter van der Westhuizen has already run a number of impressive races this year, including a second place finish at the IAAF World Challenge Jamaica International Invitational on May 5. His personal best is 3:35.33. He represented South Africa at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany.