De Grasse wins silver in 200 metres for 2nd medal of world championships
Canadian clocks 19.95 seconds in finishing behind American Noah Lyles
Andre De Grasse accelerated on the straightaway and reached the finish line in 19.95 seconds to earn a silver medal in the men's 200-metre final at the track and field world championships in Doha, Qatar on Tuesday.
World No. 1 Noah Lyles of the U.S., who entered the race with a year world-leading time of 19.50, won in 19.83. Alex Quinonez of Ecuador clocked 19.98 to round out the podium.
Canadian Aaron Brown was sixth in 20.10
De Grasse, who won bronze in the 100 on Saturday, earned Canada's first medal in a world 200 final since Atlee Mahorn brought home bronze from Tokyo on Aug. 27, 1991.
The 24-year-old has now raced a combined seven times in a world championship or Olympic final and won seven medals.
WATCH | Andre De Grasse blazes down straightaway to win silver:
CBC Sports analyst Donovan Bailey said Lyles looked "vulnerable and a little sluggish" in the semifinal heats and believed De Grasse would win the gold medal.
"I think Andre was peaking at the right time and definitely had a shot to win," said Bailey. "I thought he was going to run sub-19.80, I'm very happy for him and he's definitely back from any injuries he's had."
Next year is going to be an incredible year for me.— World 200-metre silver medallist Andre De Grasse
Tuesday's performance at Khalifa International Stadium capped a stellar comeback season for the Markham, Ont., sprinter who spent much of the 2017 and 2018 seasons recovering from right hamstring injuries.
De Grasse's injuries the previous two seasons played a part in splitting from Canadian coach Stu McMillan of the Phoenix-based ALTIS training group last fall and moving to Jacksonville, Fla., to work with American sprint guru Rana Reider, who helped De Grasse regain confidence and lower his times to near-personal-best levels.
He set a PB on Saturday of 9.90 in the 100 and fell 15-100ths of a second shy of his 19.80 PB in the 200 on Tuesday.
De Grasse returned to the track for his first 200 race of 2019 on April 13 and ran 20.20 seconds to finish second at the Grenada Invitational in St. George's. He remained healthy and reached the podium in his five other 200s, including a bronze at the Diamond League Final in 19.87, before travelling to Doha.
Brown 'gave everything' in final
"There are certain athletes that peak at the highest level," Bailey said before the 200 final. "I loved the highest level and competition and Andre seems to have taken a page out of my book here."
WATCH | De Grasse: 'I didn't think I'd be here a year ago'
De Grasse improved his record to 3-1 for 2019 in head-to-head meetings with Brown in the 200.
Brown was satisfied with his race in the final, given he felt "gassed" in Monday's semifinal heats.
"I just gave everything I had in the final," said the reigning Canadian champion in the 100 and 200. "It was a tough draw in Lane 3 but I gave everything I could off the curve and didn't have quite enough at the end. To come out here and do this gives me a lot of confidence for next year."
WATCH | Brown: 'I know I'm right there' in the 100 and 200 metres:
Bailey said Brown will reassess what improvements need to be made in the off-season but felt his race schedule had him peak "way too early" for worlds.
"When I competed, every time I was at the top of the podium, it motivated [fellow Canadians] Glenroy [Gilbert] and Bruny [Surin]. Aaron's placings are motivating Brendon [Rodney] to prepare and train better for the Olympics next year and Aaron, for sure," said Bailey.
"Aaron knows he belongs [with the top sprinters]. He just needs to utilize the opportunity and go out and execute."
'Confident' about Canada's relay chances
De Grasse will now join Brown as part of Canada's 4x100 relay team that will compete in Friday's heats.
The Canadian men placed sixth in the 2017 final while a slow start and sloppy exchange haunted De Grasse, Brown and Brendon Rodney in May at the IAAF World Relays in Japan, where they failed to qualify for the final with a time of 38.76 seconds.
This past spring, Brown told CBC Sports he is friends with De Grasse, having grown up together in Toronto and sharing the same goals on the track. But things are different when they hear the starter's gun.
"We're cool and good friends off the track but the little moments when you line up against each other [in the 100 or 200], you definitely want to take each other's head off. We're enemies for those 10 or 20 seconds."
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