Road To The Olympic Games

De Grasse, Emmanuel pile up the gold at Canadian track championships

Andre De Grasse pulled away from the rest of the pack to win the 200-metre race at the Canadian track and field championships on Sunday, two days after he posted a victory in the 100. Fellow Canadian Crystal Emmanuel also captured the double with an absolutely dominant win in the 200 on Sunday.

Sprinters secure wins in 100m and 200m events ahead of world championships

Andre De Grasse and Crystal Emmanuel both finished at the top of the pack in their respective 200-metre races at the Canadian track and field championships in Ottawa on Sunday. Both sprinters were also victorious in the 100m race on Friday. (The Canadian Press)

Andre De Grasse pulled away from the rest of the pack to win the 200-metre race at the Canadian track and field championships on Sunday in Ottawa.

De Grasse clocked a wind-aided 19.96 seconds to secure the victory, two days after he posted a victory in the 100. 

"I'm happy...to run sub-20 [seconds] here," said De Grasse. "I feel like it makes up for the 100 where I thought I could run sub-10 [seconds] - I'll take it."

Brendon Rodney of Toronto was second in 20.02, which would have qualified him for next month's world championships in London, but the wind was an illegal 2.7 metres per second. Anything over 2.0 is illegal.

"I'm a little bit gutted," Rodney said. "I have no control over nature. [Saturday], I eased up a little bit too much at the line...But that's how it goes."

Following her victory in the 100, Crystal Emmanuel of Toronto ran an impressive 22.55 to win the women's 200. Her time would have broken the Canadian record of 22.62 set by Marita Payne-Wiggins — mom of basketball star Andrew Wiggins — in 1983. But the wind was an illegal 2.8 for her race.

Emmanuel claims her consistency has come from a psychological shift.

"I was really up and down with being confident and positive in my races, going in scared, and running just to run and see what I do," said Emmanuel, who raced in knee-high Canada flag socks. "Now I come out positive, confident, knowing I can execute Point A to B and still be amazing."

De Grasse was the headliner this week, and his star power was visible in the crowds that squeezed into the 6,500-seat Terry Fox Stadium. According to an Athletics Canada official, it was the biggest crowd the national meet has ever seen.

"I'm amazed and shocked that so many people want my autograph," said De Grasse, estimating that number to be "probably hundreds, maybe thousands."

"It's a cool feeling for me, I'm just happy to see all the little kids' faces light up every time I take a picture with them."

Barber battles wet conditions for win 

Reigning world champion Shawn Barber cleared 5.40 metres to win a rain-soaked pole vault competition. 

"Sun came back and it was kind of nice again, but of course when you do that the pit is soaked and every time you take a jump, you come off a few pounds heavier," Barber said. 

Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Quebec City won the men's 1,500 in 3:45.32, while Gabriela Stafford of Toronto won the women's race in 4:12.14.

Sage Watson of Medicine Hat, Alta., captured the women's 400 hurdles title in 54.97, fresh off her NCAA title for the Arizona Wildcats.

Brittany Crew of Toronto rubber-stamped her spot on the world team with a victory in the women's shot put. Her throw of 18.32 was the seventh time this season she's thrown the world qualifying standard.

World bronze medallist Ben Thorne of Kitimat, B.C., won the men's 20K race walk in one hour 22 minutes 11.1 seconds, while Evan Dunfee of Richmond, B.C., who was fourth at last summer's Rio Olympics, was second in 1:23.38.73.

With files from CBC Sports

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