Despite Coleman's withdrawal, De Grasse must maintain top form at Diamond League
Canadian still faces stiff competition at Birmingham event
Burst out of the starting blocks and stay tall in the middle of the race.
That's the advice of 1996 Canadian Olympic 100-metre champion Donovan Bailey to Andre De Grasse, whose scheduled showdown with Christian Coleman was nixed when the latter pulled out of the 100-metre race Friday ahead of the Müller Grand Prix Diamond League track and field event on Sunday in Birmingham, U.K. (CBCSports.ca, 9 a.m. ET).
Sunday's race would've marked the first head-to-head meeting between the two in the 100 since the 2015 NCAA championships when De Grasse won the 100 and 200 in Eugene, Ore. Coleman — then a University of Tennessee freshman — failed to qualify for the 100 final.
De Grasse has Coleman's number to this point, also passing him in the final 10 metres of the 200 on a wet track to clock a season-best 19.91 two months ago at the 58th Golden Spike in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Coleman was second in 19.97.
However, Coleman withdrew from the upcoming Diamond League event "as a result of complications occurring after practice this week."
"I must limit my competition schedule going forward," said Coleman. "Being totally prepared to compete in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay at world championships has to be my primary goal."
Plenty of competition
Still, De Grasse will have plenty of competition.
The 25-year-old Simbine, who has gradually lowered his time from 10.13 since early July and boasts a season-best 9.93, is second to Coleman in the Diamond League standings.
WATCH | Andre De Grasse's comeback from two hamstring injuries:
"When you have an injury, especially to the hamstring, it becomes a mental issue," Bailey says. "You have to trust and believe that when you come out of the blocks that you can put [a lot of] torque on the hamstring, your hips, quads, wherever. Andre just has to get comfortable with loading out of the blocks again."
De Grasse, 24, is returning from a pair of strained right hamstring injuries each of the past two years to reach the podium in nine of his 10 combined 100 and 200 races this season. On July 26, his 9.98 effort in the 100 semifinal at the Canadian championships in Montreal was a season best. De Grasse followed with a 10.03 in the final later in the day, placing second to Toronto's Aaron Brown in a photo finish.
WATCH | Aaron Brown defends Canadian 100m title, beating De Grasse:
In May, he gained an early edge on Noah Lyles in the 100 at a Diamond League meet in Shanghai, only to be caught late by his American teammate with a larger stride who prevailed in a photo finish after both men crossed the line in 9.86.
"We'll see what kind of top speed Andre has," says Bailey, noting De Grasse's ability to stay relaxed at 50 metres gives him the better chance to have a more complete race.
WATCH | Andre De Grasse breaks down the 100 metres:
Other Canadians competing in Birmingham:
DeBues-Stafford, 23, won the Canadian 1,500 metres for a fourth straight year on July 28, two weeks after setting a personal-best in the mile (4:17.87) at Monaco. On July 20, DeBues-Stafford set a national record of 4:00.26 in the 1,500 in London, her third Canadian mark in a 52-day span. DeBues-Stafford, who now lives in Scotland, was 11th of 13 finishers in 4:07.51 last year in Birmingham.
WATCH | Gabriela DeBues-Stafford adds to her list of Canadian records:
WATCH | Canada's Geneviève Lalonde rules steeplechase at Pan Am Games:
Diamond League on CBC Sports
CBC Sports is providing live streaming coverage of all 14 Diamond League meets this season at CBCSports.ca and via the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. TV coverage will be featured as part of the network's Road To The Olympic Games weekend broadcasts throughout the season.
The following is a list of upcoming Diamond League meets, all times ET:
- Birmingham, U.K. (Sunday, 9–11 a.m.)
- Paris (Aug. 24, 2–4 p.m.)
- Zurich (Aug. 29, 2–4 p.m.)
- Brussels (Sept. 7, 2–4 p.m.)