De Grasse bound for Diamond League Final after 1st 200m race under 20 seconds in 2 years
Aaron Brown also qualifies; Philibert-Thiboutot sets North American mark in 2,000m
Propelled by a season's best, Andre De Grasse booked his spot in the Diamond League Final on Friday.
The Markham, Ont., sprinter posted a time of 19.89 seconds for third place in the men's 200 metres at a meet in Brussels — the first time he's run under 20 seconds since the 2021 Final — to qualify for the Sept. 16-17 season-ending event in Eugene, Ore.
American Kenny Bednarek won Friday's race in 19.79, edging Zharnel Hughes of Great Britain (19.82).
Toronto native Aaron Brown was fourth with a 19.98 season best and will also compete next weekend at Hayward Field.
Live coverage of the Diamond League Final will be available on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem beginning Saturday at 4 p.m. ET.
De Grasse entered Friday's race in the eighth and final qualifying spot for the Final, followed by Hughes and Bednarek.
In need of a strong performance, De Grasse delivered with his fastest time since he went 19.72 on Sept. 9, 2021, 2-100ths of a second behind Bednarek, who won the Diamond League Trophy.
WATCH | De Grasse, Brown post season-best times in Brussels:
The 28-year-old De Grasse left the World Athletics Championships last month in Budapest without a medal, placing fifth in the 200 and watching from the sidelines as Canada's 4x100 relay team failed to advance through heats.
At the time, De Grasse told Andi Petrillo of CBC Sports his 100-metre speed lagged this season, costing him valuable time in the 200. At the Canadian championships in July, he failed to qualify for the men's 100 final, running 10.21 in the semifinals and short of the 10.00 automatic entry standard for worlds.
But De Grasse appeared to find something in Belgium, and hopes to carry that form and momentum into the Final.
Brown, 31, finished as the top qualifier for the Final, partly a result of his racing quantity through the season. He exited the starting blocks in Brussels with purpose after being disqualified in the world semifinals for a lane infringement.
Before Friday, he hadn't finished under 20 seconds since going 19.99 in the semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics on Aug. 3, 2021. Brown's personal best is 19.95 from July 2019.
In the women's 200, Jamaica's Shericka Jackson set a Diamond League record with a time of 21.48, while Anthonique Strachan (22.31) of the Bahamas and American Jenna Prandini (22.47) placed second and third, respectively.
WATCH | Jackson breaks Diamond League record:
On Thursday, shot putter Sarah Mitton of Brooklyn, N.S., punched her ticket to Oregon with a second-place finish at a street event.
The world silver medallist said she's pleased to have found consistency this season.
WATCH | Mitton 2nd in Brussels:
"I am excited to go to Eugene and hope to put out a bigger performance there. It is in there somewhere," she said.
Last September, Mitton had a best throw of 19.56 metres at the Diamond League Final, placing second behind reigning world and Olympic champion Chase Ealey of the United States. The 27-year-old came back to beat Ealey this past February, defeating the top-ranked shot putter in Madrid at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold series meet, and threw further than her rival en route to her first Diamond League win June 15 in Oslo, Norway.
Ingebrigsten breaks men's 2,000m world record
In the men's 2,000, no athlete was remotely close to Norwegian star Jakob Ingebrigtsen, who crossed the finish line in a world record 4:43.13.
The reigning Olympic champion in the 1,500 shrugged his shoulders after breaking Hicham El Guerrouj's mark of 4:44.79, which the Moroccan set in 1999 in Berlin.
"It's always fun to break a record but, to be honest, it wasn't difficult for me to break this one," Ingebrigtsen said.
WATCH | Ingebrigsten cruises to world record time:
Ten other competitors set either season or personal-best times, including Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Quebec City.
His 4:51.54 clocking for eighth place among 11 finishers lowered his Canadian record by over four seconds (4:56.88) and is less than one second faster than Jim Spivey's 4:52.44 North American mark from 1987.
Philibert-Thiboutot didn't reach the world final but gained automatic entry to the Paris Olympics next summer, finishing 21-100ths under the qualifying standard at a Diamond League meet in Silesia, Poland.
He is scheduled to compete in the 5th Avenue Mile (1,609m) on Sunday in Manhattan, N.Y.
In the women's 100, a pair of Jamaicans recorded season bests as Elaine Thompson-Herah was first in 10.84 seconds and Natasha Morrison second (10.95).
WATCH | Thompson-Herah wins 100m title:
With files from The Associated Press