Posted Aug 23, 2023 12:32pm ET
Canada’s Andre De Grasse receives high fives from fans during the men’s 200 meters heat at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
BUDAPEST – A trio of Canadians advanced to the semi-finals of the men’s 200 meters at the World Championships in Athletics.
Andre De Grasse, Aaron Brown and Brendon Rodney placed in their first two heats.
De Grasse of Markham, Ont., the reigning Olympic champion in the 200, clocked 20.28 seconds to finish second behind young American star Erriyon Knighton – last year’s world bronze medalist – in the sixth heat.
De Grasse, 28, who qualified for the event on the final day of the qualifying window on July 30 by winning the national title in a season’s best time of 20.01 seconds, was happy with how things have gone so far. difficult season.
“This season has been much more challenging than previous seasons. When I come to the championships, I usually know where I am, I know what it will mean,” he said after the race. “But this, the champs, I was a bit nervous at first, I didn’t know what I could take, I wasn’t trying to go too hard but I was still trying to put together a solid run to get a top-three performance.
“It turned out pretty well, so now I have to put a little more pieces together and it could be a sub-20 second performance.”
“As for the semi-final, I think it will probably be harder than the final because everyone is running so well,” he added. “Everybody’s probably going to be exerting themselves a lot more, so it’s going to take less than 20 seconds to get in.”
Toronto’s Brown was second (20.08) in the competitive first heat behind Britain’s Zharnel Hughes (19.99), the bronze medalist in the 100 in which five sprinters qualified.
Brown’s time was the fourth-fastest of any competitor, also behind Olympic silver medalist Kenneth Bednarek (20.01) and two-time defending world champion — and newly minted world champion in the 100 — Noah Lyles (20.05), both of the U.S.
“It’s nerve-racking waiting for your turn,” he said after the race to compete. “I decided to drop the 100 just to focus on the (200) because I knew there were some big dogs in the (200) this year, so I could do my best, put all my eggs in one basket.
“It’s paying off so far and I felt pretty good running from the second lane, I ran 20.0 and I was happy to finally get my feet wet.”
Toronto’s Brendon Rodney won heat four with a season-best time of 20.14 seconds.
The semi-finals are on Thursday, the final is scheduled for Friday.
In other results, Toronto’s Jazz Shukla advanced to the semifinals of the women’s 800 with a personal best time of two minutes, 0.30 seconds. Madeleine Kelly of Pembroke, Ont., failed to qualify in 2:04.72.
Richmond, BC native Camryn Rogers opens her quest for gold in the women’s hammer throw in the afternoon meet.
Rogers, 24, won silver in her world debut in 2022 and is the second female thrower in the world.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 23, 2023.
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