KAZAN, Russia -- Canada won its first medals at the 2013 World University Games on Tuesday, taking silver in the men's 1,500 metres and bronze in team race walk.
Jeremy Rae of Fort Erie, Ont., was sixth heading into the final lap of the 1,500 but came back to finish second in three minutes 39.45 seconds, six hundredths of a second behind Valentin Smirnov of Russia.
Rae became the first Canadian to medal in the event at the University Games since Olympian Dave Bailey captured silver in 1967 in Tokyo.
"I'm really confident in my ability to explode. I've had great finishes all season, Rae said. "With 200 metres to go, I tripped when another runner cut in front of me, but it didn't stop me. I think I would have had a good shot at gold, but I'm happy I got silver."
Ross Proudfoot of Sudbury, Ont., was ninth in 3:44.33.
Earlier, the trio of Vancouver's Inaki Gomez, Ben Thorne of Kitimat, B.C., and Evan Dunfee of Richmond, B.C., claimed Canada's first medal of the games, finishing third in the men's 20-kilometre team racewalk in four hours 20 minutes 35 seconds. Russia (4:04:31) took gold and Ukraine (4:08:09) won silver.
"It's an honour to win Canada's first medal in Kazan," said Gomez, who competed for the University of British Columbia until 2010 and now attends law school at the University of Calgary. "The team event is neat because it adds a whole other dynamic to the competition."
Other Canadians in athletics finals on Tuesday included Sarah Wells of Unionville, Ont., fourth in the women's 400m hurdles; Alicia Brown of Ottawa, fifth in the women's 400m; Jessica Smith of North Vancouver, B.C., sixth in the women's 800m; Helen Crofts of West Vancouver, B.C., seventh in the women's 800m; Daniel Harper of Brampton, Ont., eighth in the men's 400m; and Patrick Arbour of Ottawa, who completed the decathlon in eighth place.
In women's artistic gymnastics, Ellie Black of Halifax also finished just outside the podium in the individual all-around final. The 2012 Olympian was second heading into the final event but a sub-par floor routine cost her two positions.
In women's soccer, Canada (1-2) blanked China (0-2-1) 4-0 in its final preliminary round match but it wasn't enough to qualify for the quarter-finals of the 12-team tournament.
In women's basketball, Canada (1-1) held a 48-43 lead heading into the fourth quarter but couldn't hold on and dropped a 59-57 decision to Ukraine (1-1). The Canadians face a must-win situation Wednesday when they wrap up pool play against Taiwan (2-0), the 2011 Universiade silver medallist.
In beach volleyball, Canada went a perfect 4-0 thanks to two wins by the men's pair of Grant O'Gorman of Toronto and Samuel Pedlow of Barrie, Ont., and one victory apiece by the women's duos of Melissa Humana-Paredes of Toronto and Taylor Pischke of Winnipeg, and Rachel Cockrell of Winnipeg and Charlotte Sider of Toronto.
All three Canadian squads are now in the double-elimination playoff round.
In tennis, Isade Juneau of Repentigny, Que., won his opening singles match 6-0, 6-2, while Phil Anderson of Halifax and Christiaan Lee-Daigle of Tecumseh, Ont. prevailed 6-1, 6-0 in their doubles opener.
Dominique Harmath of Toronto and Kristina Sanjevic of Edmonton lost in women's singles.
In weightlifting, Roody St-Pierre of Lachute, Que., and Samuel Pietracupa of Saint-Hyacinthe, Que., placed 15th and 16th in the 69kg overall final, respectively.
In fencing, Scott Dudiak of Saskatoon and Francois Provencher of Ottawa were both stopped in the round of 64 of the men's foil tournament.
In synchronized swimming, Samantha Nealon of Guelph, Ont., scored 83.750 to finish the solo competition in sixth place.