Canadian Evan Dunfee breaks away from the peloton to claim Commonwealth gold in the 10,000m walk

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Canadian Evan Dunfee celebrates after winning gold in the men’s 10,000m race walk at the Commonwealth Games on August 7.JOHN SIBLEY/Reuters

Canadian Evan Dunfee says he tapped into the support of those close to him to propel him to a Commonwealth Games gold medal.

The 31-year-old from Richmond, B.C., won the 10,000 meters on Sunday, using a fabulous kick on the final lap to open a 40-yard gap on his closest competitor.

He finished with a Commonwealth and Canadian record of 38 minutes 36.37 seconds.

“Believing in me today as much as my friends and family back home believed in me,” Dunfee said. “That was the goal for today, just to come here and have the same belief that everyone has in me, and support me, and that’s what I did and I’m thrilled.”

Dunfee’s victory comes after a difficult season which saw him struggle with a lingering hamstring injury and a lack of motivation largely around elimination from the 50 kilometer event, in which he won the bronze at the Tokyo Olympics last summer and the 2019 world championships. Dunfee had lobbied hard to keep the event, but it was eventually dropped from the world and Olympic schedules.

“I’m always going to mourn the loss of the 50K, I think it was just the best event in track and field, the best event out there showcases endurance, so I’m always going to miss it, I’m always going to encourage, I will always talk about its advantages and where it belongs,” he said. “But you know, sprint events are also fun, I guess.

Sunday’s race was a huge change of pace for Dunfee, as it took place on the track inside Alexander Stadium. Walkers normally run on road courses.

“It was amazing, coming here, being in the stadium, we’ve never experienced anything like this as Walkers,” he said.

Canadians Sam Schacter and Daniel Dearing won silver in men’s beach volleyball. The Toronto natives lost 2-1 to Australians Chris McHugh and Paul Bernett in Sunday’s final.

The Canadian women’s beach volleyball duo of Sarah Pavan and Melissa Humana-Paredes played for gold later Sunday on the penultimate day of the Games.

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