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Kelowna's own, John Gay secured a spot in men's 3,000 meter steeplechase at Tokyo Olympics

Gay runs to final

UPDATE: 9:30 a.m.

Kelowna runner John Gay couldn't thank those around him enough for helping him get to the final of the men's 3,000 metre steeplechase at the Tokyo Olympics Thursday evening.

In an email to Castanet following the race, Gay says he has an incredible team around him that helped push him to the first sub eight minute, 20 second time he has ever run.

"I've got an incredible team of support around me, starting with my coach Chris Johnson and the entire Athletics Canada support staff and my fellow teammates," said Gay.

Gay qualified for the Olympic team at the national trials in Montreal a month ago, after failing to hit the 8:22.00 Olympic standard in previous races internationally.

"Compared with past races on the international stage,I felt so composed and present during this semi-final," he said.

"I'm proud of the way I ran within myself and didn't let the excitement of the moment take away from the job I had to execute."

Gay finished sixth in his heat in a personal best time of eight minutes, 16.99 seconds, and qualified 14th out of 15 athletes who will run the final.

There's almost three days between now and the final, which runs at 5:15 a.m. Pacific time Monday.

Gay told Castanet he's "full of confidence"heading to the final and knows that anything can happen.

"I'll spend the next 72 hours doing my best to recover and reset, which means blocking out the noise and focusing in on the task at hand.

"Today, I proved to myself that I belong amongst the best in the world, and I'm excited to see how fast I can go on Monday."

Kelowna’s John Gay has secured a spot in the men’s 3,000 meter steeplechase at the Tokyo Olympics.

Competing in his first Olympic Games, Gay ran in the first of three qualification heats.

His time of eight minutes, 16.99 seconds was nearly four seconds better than his best ever time recorded less than a month ago at the Canadian Trials in Montreal, but only sixth best among those in his heat.

The top three runners in each of the three heats advanced to the final with the next six best times also qualifying.

Gay had to wait out the other two heats, but, when the entire field in the final heat finished with slower times, Gay was off to the final.

Gay qualified 14th, but finished with the 12th best time.

Teammate Matthew Hughes also qualified for the final.

The 3,000 meter steeplechase final goes Monday morning at 5:15 a.m. Pacific Time.

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