Aaron Brown adds 200m win to stellar Canadian championships
Shawn Barber sets championship pole vault record by clearing 5.75m
A night after Aaron Brown captured a thrilling men's 100 metre title, the 200 metres had plenty of drama as well — but for all the wrong reasons.
Brown won the 200 to complete the short sprints sweep at the Canadian track and field championships on Saturday, but the field was missing Andre De Grasse to a hamstring injury and Gavin Smellie to an odd late false start call.
"I had to run against who's in the field, and that's exactly what I did," Brown, of Toronto, said. "I literally won by a nose [Friday] night in the 100, and I had a pretty comfortable win in the 200 and I'm pleased with it. I can build off this."
Brown, who'd won the 100 by a thousandth of a second the previous night, led from the gun to capture the 200 crown, his fourth Canadian senior title, in 20.17 seconds. Jerome Blake of Kelowna, B.C., was second in 20.38, while Mobolade Ajomale of Richmond Hill, Ont., won the bronze in 20.62.
De Grasse, the Canadian record-holder in the 200, had finished third in the 100 but pulled up with a hamstring injury in his 200 semifinal Saturday.
"I'm pulling for him and hope he recovers fast," Brown said. "It's been a tough season for him, and I never want to see a teammate go through that, because I know how tough that is."
De Grasse, a triple Olympic medallist in 2016, has had a tough time in his comeback from the hamstring injury that knocked him out of last summer's world championships.
Smellie, meanwhile, withdrew from the 200 final after having to run his semifinal twice. The sprinter from Mississauga, Ont., was in a semi that was called back for a false start, but the gun didn't sound to call the runners back until they were already around the bend. Smellie and two other runners ran the whole way, then had to compete in the re-run 45 minutes later.
Blake was racing the championships as a Canadian citizen for the first time. Originally from Jamaica, he'd lived in Canada for seven years, but didn't bother to race at the national meet because his lack of citizenship would have ruled him out of running the final.
"This year I got my citizenship, so I can fight for [national] teams now, which is nice, so that actually drove me to run as fast as I did today," Blake said.
Brown, who recently dipped under the 20-second barrier for the first time, is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career.
"It's great, I have the confidence of being a two-time Canadian champion in 2018, my third and fourth title, I'm trending in a positive way, my training is paying off and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and closing out strong," said Brown, who will now return to the Diamond League circuit with a race in Monaco on July 20.
Emmanuel crushes 200m
Meanwhile, Crystal Emmanuel won the women's 200 a day after winning the 100, and as always, entertained the crowd with a celebratory scream after crossing the line.
"I'm the beast!" she screamed.
"My coach always tries to motivate me in practice, and get my mind right for each race, so 'beast' came one time when I didn't want to do something in practice. I was really feeling down, so coach said 'If you want to be a beast, you've got to do it,"' Emmanuel explained. "Most of the ladies come out here and they're strong, beautiful ladies, so I look beautiful off the track and I'm a beast on the track."
The 26-year-old from Toronto finished in 22.74 seconds. Emmanuel had a breakout season last year, breaking Marita Payne-Wiggins' 34-year-old Canadian record in the event, and finishing seventh at the world championships.
Barber sets record in pole vault
Shawn Barber, the 2015 world champion, cleared a championship record 5.75 metres to win the pole vault and retain in national title. The previous championship record was also held by Barber, when he cleared 5.60m in 2015.
Johnathan Cabral won the men's 110 hurdles in 13.44, edging Damian Warner (13.48), the Olympic bronze medallist in the decathlon.
In other early finals Saturday night, Aiyanna Stiverne won the women's 400, Evan Karakolis won the men's javelin and Caroline Ehrhardt won the women's triple jump.