Canadian track and field championship wraps with De Grasse victory in 200 metres


For Andre De Grasse, the goal was simple: forget what happened earlier.

De Grasse won the men’s 200-metre final as the Canadian track and field championship came to a close Sunday at McLeod Stadium.

The reigning Olympic champion in the 200 finished in 20.01 seconds just ahead of fellow Olympian and teammate Aaron Brown (20.10) with Brendon Rodney (20.15) rounding out the top three.

De Grasse’s victory in the 200 came after he didn’t qualify for Friday’s 100-metre final. He finished ninth in a distance in which De Grasse has twice won an Olympic bronze medal.

“I just tried to come out here with a positive attitude and have a short term memory of what happened Friday,” De Grasse said.

The 28-year-old from Markham, Ont., was the fastest in Sunday’s preliminary round with a time of 20.31, ahead of Jerome Blake, Brown and Rodney second to fourth respectively.

De Grasse’s victory in the final was his last chance to qualify in an individual event for next month’s world championship in Budapest, Hungary, following his miss in the 100.

For Toronto’s Brown, who won the 100 metres for a fifth straight time, getting beaten in the 200 was surprising.

“I’m just a little shocked. It’s been a while since I lost a Canadian championship,” Brown said. “I’m happy for my teammates. A lot of people were giving Andre a hard time, but he showed why he’s an Olympic champion.”

De Grasse, Blake, Brown and Rodney received relay silver medals Saturday from Tokyo’s Summer Games, which were delayed from 2020 to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They were upgraded from bronze to silver after the disqualification of Britain due to a doping violation.

“I didn’t sleep much last night, thinking about that moment and getting that medal after two years,” De Grasse said. “It felt great to get the job done with them, I wouldn’t want to get the job done with any others.

“It felt like a brotherhood.”

De Grasse hadn’t competed at nationals for four years due to world championship and Olympic commitments, as well as a bout with COVID-19 and a foot injury in 2022.

He and his relay teammates say they’re turning their attention to the world championships Aug. 19-27.

“It’s three weeks away, so I have some time,” De Grasse said. “I’m taking it one day at a time, one practice at a time.”

Brown expects to compete in both the 100 and the 200, as well as the relay with the same teammates that earned Olympic silver, in Budapest.

“I’m not completely ready yet,” said Brown. “I have a couple weeks to clean some stuff up before worlds.”

Toronto’s Rodney wanted more from himself in the 200 final.

“I’m a little upset but I’m also happy at the same time,” he stated. “Next up is world championships.”

Decathlete Pierce LePage took home gold in the men’s long jump. It was his second medal at nationals after the 27-year-old from Whitby, Ont., finished third in discus Thursday.

Nojah Parker of Woodstock, Ont., won the men’s pole vault Sunday with a height of 5.40 metres.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 30, 2023.

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