Desgagnés, Fafard, Philibert-Thiboutot set for Olympic tune-up at Diamond League’s Meeting de Paris

The “Three Musketeers” of Canadian running will get a feel for racing in Paris this weekend before some of their Olympic competition early next month in the French capital.

Thomas Fafard is scheduled to make his Diamond League season debut Sunday at the Meeting de Paris, joining Charles Philibert-Thiboutot in the men’s 3,000 metres at 11:06 a.m. ET, a non-DL points race. Jean-Simon Desgagnés races in the 3,000 steeplechase at 10:23 a.m.

Desgagnés and Philibert-Thiboutot competed at the BAUHAUS-galan Diamond League meet on June 2 in Stockholm.

The trio, coached by Quebec-based Felix-Antoine Lapointe, solidified spots on the Canadian Olympic team at last week’s trials at Claude-Robillard sports complex in Montreal.

Philibert-Thiboutot was second to Kieran Lumb in the 1,500 for a second consecutive year. He had achieved the 3:33:50 Olympic qualifying standard by 21-100ths of a second last July 16 in Silesia, Poland.

“A sweet, sweet personal victory after missing Tokyo 2021 by two world ranking spots and running the [Olympic qualifying] standard 3 weeks too late,” Philibert-Thiboutot wrote this week in an Instagram post.

The 33-year-old from Quebec City will compete in his second Olympic 1,500 after placing eighth in his semifinal heat at the 2016 Games in Rio.

Live streaming coverage of Sunday’s track and field meet begins at 10 a.m. ET and is available at, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.

Desgagnés, 25, won his second straight Canadian title in 8:34.56, one month after placing eighth in the Stockholm (8:15.95). The native of Saint-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., qualified for his first Olympics on world ranking points, having not run the 8:15.00 entry standard.

High praise for Desgagnes

“Thank you to everyone who pushes me forward every day,” Desgagnés wrote on Instagram. “Special mention to the three musketeers, Thomas, Charles and myself, who will proudly represent the group in Paris. This city ain’t ready.”

Philibert-Thiboutot considers Desgagnés, his good friend, the best hurdler in the world in the steeplechase.

“His technicality over hurdles will make him dangerous at the Olympics,” Philibert-Thiboutot said of Desgagnés in a June interview with CBC Sports.

“He’s been stacking months of training and staying healthy, and the quality and volume of his training has gone up in the last year.”

Fafard arrived at nationals after lowering the Quebec record to 7:41.20 in winning the 3,000 at the Harry Jerome Track Classic on June 15 in Burnaby, B.C.

In Montreal, his second-place performance in the men’s 5,000 behind reigning Olympic silver medallist Moh Ahmed represented his debut race as a professional with Brooks.

The 25-year-old’s 13:18.82 clocking was the second-fastest time of his career behind a 13:05.07 effort in May 7 in Brussels, where he missed the Olympic standard by 7-100ths of a second. Fafard, from Repentigny, needed a top-two finish at Claude-Robillard to keep his Olympic dream alive as he sat 41st of 42 athletes for selection.

Sprinter Jerome Blake rounds out the Canadian contingent at Stade Charléty in Paris. He ran a season-best 10.15 seconds in the 100m heats at nationals and 10.34 for seventh in the final. Blake will be part of the 4×100 relay in Paris, as he was in Tokyo three years ago.

Kipyegon returns

Sunday will be the season debut in the women’s 1,500 for Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, who won her fourth Diamond League Trophy last September in Eugene, Ore.

A year ago, Kipyegon broke the world record in the 5,000 (14:05.20) at the Meeting de Paris, one week after accomplishing the feat in the 1,500 (3:49.11).

Kipyegon, who is expected to run both races at the Olympics, could face a tough test from recently crowned European champion Ciara Mageean of Ireland in Sunday’s event at 11:50 a.m. ET.

Much-anticipated steeplechase matchup

The women’s 3,000 steeplechase at 11:31 a.m. features the fastest runner in the event, Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya, against her former compatriot, Winfred Yavi, who won the 2023 world championship title in 8:54.29 in front of second-place Chepkoech (8:58.98).

Recently crowned Euro champ Alice Finot of France is also in Sunday’s field of 13.

De Grasse in 100m at FBK Games

Also Sunday, sprinter Andre De Grasse will represent Canada at the FBK Games in Hengelo, Netherlands.

He will carry momentum into the men’s 100 final at 1:27 p.m. ET after winning in 10.20 seconds at the Canadian championships.

However, it was De Grasse’s 23rd consecutive time in the distance failing to finish in under 10 seconds since his 9.89 second-place finish in the Diamond League Final on Sept. 9, 2021 in Zurich.

Ferdinand Omanyala leads Sunday’s nine-man field with a wind-legal 9.79 SB at high altitude in Nairobi on June 15, second only to Jamaica’s Kishane Thompson (9.77).

WATCH | Athletics North — Recapping 100m at Canadian Olympic trials:

Breaking down the 100m at the Canadian Olympic trials | Athletics North

Andre De Grasse & Audrey Leduc were crowned fastest man and woman in Canada at the 2024 Olympic & Paralympic trials last week, but what do their wins mean as Paris 2024 comes into focus? We talk to certified track nerd Morgan Campbell about the results and the breadth of the Canadian athletics team.

Diamond League calendar

  • Monaco — July 12
  • London — July 20
  • Lausanne, Switzerland — Aug. 22
  • Silesia, Poland — Aug. 25
  • Rome — Aug. 30
  • Zurich — Sept. 5
  • Brussels (DL Final) — Sept. 13-14

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