Track and Field

Canada's Andre De Grasse advances to men's 100m semifinal at athletics worlds

Six-time Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse is into Saturday night’s semfinal in the men’s 100-metres after finishing second in his heat and stopping the clock in a time of 10.12.

Canadians Lovett (high jump), Rogers (hammer throw) earn spots in their event finals

Canada's Andre De Grasse advanced to the semifinals of the men's 100-metre event at the 2022 World Athletics Championships after running 10.12, finishing second in his heat on Friday. (Javier Soriano/AFP via Getty Images)

There were questions swirling about the health of Canadian sprinting superstar Andre De Grasse ahead of the men's 100-metre heats at the world championships on Friday night in Eugene, Ore.

Just two weeks ago he tested positive for COVID-19 a second time.

Then the six-time Olympic medallist took to the track on a hot night inside Hayward Field and did what he's done time and time again.

Despite a slow start out of the blocks, De Grasse charged to the finish, stopping the clock in a time of 10.12, second in his heat, to advance to Saturday night's semifinal.

WATCH | Canada's De Grasse qualifies for 100m semifinal:

Canada’s Andre De Grasse qualifies for the men’s 100m World Athletics Championships semifinal

5 months ago
Duration 2:14
Andre De Grasse of Markham, Ont., ran a 10.12 in his 100-metre heat at the World Athletics Championships.

"Rust buster. I didn't know what I was going to feel like when I got out here. It's been a while since I ran. I was just trying to see where I was at. First round. I'm happy I qualified," De Grasse told CBC Sports after the race.

"Make some adjustments and get ready for tomorrow."

The 27-year-old from Markham, Ont., was running alongside American Christian Coleman, who won Heat 6 in a time of 10.08.

There were seven sprinters under 10 seconds, with American Fred Kerley posting the fastest time of the night, 9.79.

Aaron Brown, from Toronto, also qualified for tomorrow night's semifinal after finishing third in Heat 5. Brown stopped the clock in a season-best time of 10.06.

"I didn't know what time I had run. But I was trying to save some energy. I got a long championship ahead of me so I didn't want to be burning up the track in the first round."

Brown is a 10-time national champion, including winning the sprint double at nationals in Langley, B.C., at the end of June. At 30 years old Brown is leaning on experience going into worlds.

"My mantra going into this championship is that anyone can be beaten. You got your favourites. Pundits are picking their winners," Brown said.

"I'm a wiley veteran. I've seen many upsets. Just playing cool. Surviving round-by-round and trying to mix it up."

Jerome Blake, from Burnaby, B.C., failed to qualify for the semis after finishing fourth in his heat, stopping the clock at a time of 10.16.

"I didn't get out of the blocks properly. You can't come to the world championships and make big mistakes like that," Blake told CBC Sports after the race.

De Grasse's performance on Friday night is made even more impressive considering it's his first race in weeks — he had been suffering from a number of symptoms while recovering from COVID, including shortness of breath.

It forced him to miss nationals in Langley.

But like he has done so many times, De Grasse was able to bring his best on the big stage and put forward a strong performance.

"I always try to bring my A-game. It's the world champs. This is what we train all year for. Every time I put on that uniform I just try to represent my family and my country and go out there and give it my best," De Grasse said.

When asked about whether De Grasse had recovered from any respiratory problems, his answer was brief.

"We'll see," he said. "We'll see tomorrow night."

De Grasse's remarkable medal streak is still alive — dating back to his world championship debut in 2015 where he won bronze in the 100m, De Grasse has entered seven individual events at the worlds or Olympics and reached the podium in every single one of them.

"I'm always confident anytime I step on the line. I wouldn't be here if I wasn't confident. I would have said let's back it up and I'm not coming to worlds. I just want to come out here and give it my all," De Grasse said.

The men's 100m semifinals are scheduled for 9 p.m. ET on Saturday. The final goes at 10:50 p.m. ET.

Lovett, Rogers start strong for Canada

Django Lovett and Camryn Rogers have Canada off to a flying start at the World Athletics Championships.

Lovett, of Surrey, B.C., booked his ticket to the high jump final by clearing a bar of 2.28 metres on Friday in the opening session of the Eugene, Ore., meet at Hayward Field.

The jump matched a season best for the 30-year-old, which ranks sixth worldwide and just six centimetres back of the world-leading mark.

He was one of just six jumpers who made that height on their first attempt.

WATCH | Lovett leaps into final:

B.C.'s Django Lovett qualifies for men's high jump final at World Athletics Championships

5 months ago
Duration 0:36
Django Lovett of Surrey, B.C. qualified for the men's high jump final, by clearing 2.28 metres at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Lovett, a co-captain of Team Canada, won nationals in June and previously placed first at the Diamond League event in Birmingham, England.

"My goal was to be clear all the way through and not muck about, and we got that job done," said Lovett, whose mom drove eight hours to Eugene to watch.

"It was great to see her in the crowd," he said. "The fans were phenomenal. It was a very vibrant and happy, encouraging environment."

Other notable qualifiers included Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim and Italy's Gianmarco Tamberi, the friends who memorably chose to share gold in the event at Tokyo 2020.

The final is scheduled to take place Monday at 8:45 p.m. ET.

WATCH | Rogers reaches hammer throw final:

B.C.'s Camryn Rogers makes women's hammer throw final at World Athletics Championships

5 months ago
Duration 1:20
Camryn Rogers of Surrey, B.C. qualified for the women's hammer throw final with her first attempt of 73.67 metres at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore.

Rogers, in her first career worlds, wasted no time advancing to the hammer throw final, as her first toss of 73.67m cleared the automatic qualification threshold of 73.50.

The 23-year-old from Richmond, B.C., nearly became Canada's first Olympic medallist in the event when she placed fifth in Tokyo.

"We went in there with the plan to execute and get it done on the first throw," Rogers said. "It's a plan and a point that we've worked to make consistent over the entire season. And so to come here and get the job done when it counts, it's everything. And so now we can move forward and get really excited and get hyped for the final [on Sunday]."

She currently holds the Canadian and U.S. collegiate records at 77.67m and is ranked fourth in the world.

Jillian Weir of Kingston, Ont., also qualified for the hammer final with a throw of 72.00.

The medal round begins Sunday at 2:35 p.m. ET.

Later tonight, Canadian champion shot put champion Sarah Mitton hits the field for qualifying (8:10 p.m. ET) before the 100-metre heats, featuring Olympic bronze medallist Andre De Grasse, begin at 9:50 p.m. ET.

De Grasse hasn't raced since contracting COVID-19 about a month ago.

Canada has 59 athletes competing at the championships, the world's third largest sporting event behind the Olympics and the World Cup, at Hayward Field.

Daily live coverage of the World Athletics coverage is available on CBC Gem, CBCSports.ca and the free CBC Sports app.

WATCH | Welcome to Tracktown, USA:

The city known as 'Tracktown' ready to welcome the world

5 months ago
Duration 0:54
Eugene, Ore. has a rich history of track, which is exactly how the city got its nickname.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Devin Heroux

CBC reporter

Devin Heroux reports for CBC News and Sports. He is now based in Toronto, after working first for the CBC in Calgary and Saskatoon.

With files from CBC Sports and The Canadian Press

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