Three way split screen of Michelle Li playing badminton, Sarah Douglas in her sailboat, and Andre De Grasse screaming in joy

5 Team Canada things to watch this weekend: April 28-30

We know what Canadian curling fans will be doing this weekend: watching the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship to see if Jennifer Jones and Brent Laing can make some history. Canada has already won bronze at the World Women’s Curling Championship and silver at the World Men’s Curling Championship. Jones and Laing are just two wins away from earning a gold medal.

There are also signs that summer is almost upon us. Many summer sport athletes are competing now with an eye on preparing themselves for major international meetings taking place later in the year, including the Santiago 2023 Pan Am Games in October.

Here are some competitions to follow this weekend to stay attuned to the performances of Team Canada athletes.

Curling

The World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship began on April 22 in Gangneung, South Korea. Canadian duo Jennifer Jones and Brent Laing earned a bye directly into Friday’s semifinals after finishing first in Group A during round robin play. They’ll face the winner of the qualification playoff between Scotland and the United States at 5:00 a.m. ET on Friday morning.

The couple both on and off the ice are competing at their first mixed doubles worlds. But they both bring vast experience from four-player curling. Jones won Olympic gold at Sochi 2014 and is a four-time world championship medallist. Laing is a three-time world champion who competed at this venue at PyeongChang 2018.

Canada has won four medals over the years at the World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship. but so far, none of them are gold. The bronze medal game will take place 9:00 p.m. ET on Friday night, with the gold medal game at 1:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. All playoff games will be streamed by The Curling Channel.

Sailing

It is French Olympic Week in Hyères, France where racing on the water will continue through Saturday. There are 13 Canadian sailors competing in the event that includes all 10 Olympic classes.

Among the Canadians to watch is Sarah Douglas in the ILCA 6 class. As of Thursday, she was in first place after the first seven races with a net total of 25 points, putting her four points ahead of second place. The ILCA 6 class will race three times on Friday before the medal race on Saturday in which points are doubled.

In each race of the series, a boat earns points according to its placement (1st place = 1 point, 2nd place = 2 points, etc). Sailors look to accumulate as few points as possible at the end of the week. Their worst result is dropped and does not count towards the point total. So far, Douglas has been able to drop a ninth-place finish. She placed fifth in Hyères last year.

Heading into the week, Douglas said: « After struggling to find my footing in the first two events, my coach and I have a solid plan on how to put together the pieces of the puzzle…. This regatta will continue to serve as preparation for the World Championships this summer. From there, we will take all of our learnings, and we will adjust and spend time at the 2024 (Olympic) venue in May and June and July before the Olympic qualifications in August.”

Other Canadian Olympians in Hyères include Ali ten Hove and Mariah Millen in the 49er FX and William Jones with new crewman Justin Barnes in the 49er.

Badminton

Canada’s best badminton players are participating in the Pan American Championships, which are underway in Kingston, Jamaica until April 29.

Among the Canadians to watch is Michelle Li, the 2019 Pan Am Games champion who is ranked 15th in the world, which ranks her first among women’s singles players in the Pan American region. She is the reigning gold medallist at the Pan Am Championships.

Brian Yang is the top-ranked men’s singles player in the Pan American region. He’ll look to improve upon his runner-up finish in 2022 and add another gold to the one he captured in 2021.

Canada boasts the reigning champions in mixed doubles in Ty Lindeman and Josephine Wu. Wu will also team up with Catherine Choi in women’s doubles. They won silver together in 2022 behind teammates Rachel Honderich and Kristen Tsai. The latter are unable to defend their title because Tsai is injured. Canada has two podium contending teams in men’s doubles in Nyl Yakura & Adam Dong and Ty Lindeman & Kevin Lee. Both duos won bronze last year.

After nine podium performances in 2022, the biggest question for Canada is how many medals this year?

Athletics

Just under 10 months ago, Andre De Grasse, Aaron Brown, Jerome Blake and Brendon Rodney teamed up to win Canada’s first world title in the 4x100m relay in 25 years. On Saturday, the sprinters will face off in the 200m at the Botswana Golden Grand Prix. Brown will also race in the 100m on Saturday. This event will serve as a warmup for the season-opening stop of the Diamond League, which will begin May 5.

The World Athletics Continental Tour Gold event will be streamed on CBCSports.ca. Competition will begin at 8:30 a.m. ET, with the 100m scheduled for 9:23 a.m. ET and the 200m following at 10:23 a.m. ET.

Equestrian

On Friday, the FEI Jumping Nations Cup series will have a stop get underway in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. This is the first of three events for the North/Central America & Caribbean region that will take place before June. Canada will be represented by Olympians Mario Deslauriers and Tiffany Foster as well as Erynn Ballard and Sara Tindale.

During the series, teams will look to qualify for the FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in September, at which there will be one Olympic team berth available to be earned. Canada also has an opportunity to qualify a jumping team for Paris 2024 via the Pan Am Games in October.