Road To The Olympic Games

Track and Field·Diamond League

'It wasn't a good run for me:' De Grasse cites swirling wind for 5th-place finish

Andre De Grasse of Markham, Ont., finished fifth in the men's 100 metres on Sunday, stopping the clock in 10.13 seconds — his highest time of the season in a final — at the Müller Grand Prix Diamond League track and field meet in Birmingham, U.K.

Canadian posts his highest 100-metre time of 2019; Yohan Blake wins in photo finish

Andre De Grasse will compete in the 100, 200 and 4x100-metre relay at the world track and field championships in Doha, Qatar, which begin Sept. 27. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Andre De Grasse of Markham, Ont., finished fifth in the men's 100 metres on Sunday, stopping the clock in 10.13 seconds — his highest time of the season in a final — at the Müller Grand Prix Diamond League track and field meet in Birmingham, U.K.

It marked just the second time in six races in the event this season that De Grasse has failed to place in the top three. He ran 10.14 earlier in the day in one of two semifinal heats at Alexander Stadium after running 10.03 on July 26 to place second to Aaron Brown in the 100 final at the Canadian championships.

"I came out of the [starting] blocks and wasn't really feeling it [in my legs] and couldn't get myself back into the race," a disappointed De Grasse said Sunday.

WATCH | Andre De Grasse on what might have led to his disappointing race:

Andre De Grasse discusses his 5th place finish in the men's 100m race in Birmingham. 0:48

Yohan Blake of Jamaica and De Grasse's training partner, Adam Gemili of Great Britain, crossed the finish line together on Sunday, with Blake eventually declared the winner by 8-1,000ths of a second in a photo finish. Michael Rodgers of the United States was third in 10.09.

"It was coming," said Blake, who last won an individual global medal at the 2012 London Olympics and was aided on Sunday by a 2.0 metres per second wind, just under the allowable. "The weather wasn't great but I'm saving the big day for the world championships and the Diamond League final in Zurich [on Aug. 29]. I can run faster."

De Grasse, who ran a season-best 9.98 in the semifinals at nationals, clocked 10.11 at the Taiwan Open Athletics Championships on May 25 and had witnessed a steady drop in time since then entering this weekend.

WATCH | Yohan Blake beats Adam Gemili in photo finish:

Jamaica's Yohan Blake finished first in the men's 100m event in Birmingham with a time of 10.07, while Andre De Grasse came in fifth with 10.13. 3:23

He continues to work at getting faster out of the starting blocks while being more efficient in getting to the 30-metre mark as the 2016 Olympic triple medallist has demonstrated a solid final 50 metres this season.

De Grasse/Coleman showdown nixed

"Andre isn't very tall [at five-foot-eight] but he has great velocity," CBC Sports track analyst Donovan Bailey said entering the Müller Grand Prix, "so he has to get himself in good position coming out of the blocks."

Sunday's race was supposed to be a showdown against Christian Coleman, who boasts a 2019 world-leading time of 9.81, but the American was forced to withdraw on Friday "as a result of complications occurring after practice this week."

Each of the previous two scheduled races featuring the one-time NCAA 100 and 200 champions were scuttled because one of the them was nursing a hamstring injury. De Grasse and Coleman haven't gone head-to-head in the 100 since the 2015 NCAA semifinals in Eugene, Ore.

Blake, 29, was the 2011 world champion and beat fellow countryman and current 100 world-record holder Usain Bolt at the 2012 Jamaican Olympic trials, but has been slowed by a series of leg injuries since 2013.

He's got massive shoes to fill [with Usain Bolt retired]. Everyone expects him to at least get to the podium [at the world championships].— CBC Sports track analyst Donovan Bailey on Yohan Blake of Jamaica

However, the world No. 9 sprinter before Sunday's race posted a winning time of 9.96 at the Jamaican championships on June 21 and went 9.97 to finish third at the Müller Anniversary Games in London on July 20.

With Bolt retired, Blake is Jamaica's "hope for greatness" leading up to the world championships in September and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, according to Bailey.

Jamaica's Yohan Blake wins the 100-metre final ahead of Great Britain's Adam Gemili by 8-1,000ths of a second at the Muller Grand Prix Diamond League track and field event on Sunday at Alexander Stadium. American Christopher Belcher was fourth. (Martin Rickett/PA via Associated Press)

"He's got massive shoes to fill," Bailey said. "Everyone expects him to at least get to the podium [at worlds in Doha, Qatar].

"I read an article where he said he's going to bring it in Doha, so he's putting himself verbally in the conversation, but he's never put himself physically in the conversation."

Blake was fourth at the 2017 world championships in London, his 9.99 effort trailing winner Justin Gatlin (9.92), Coleman (9.94) and Bolt (9.95). He was also fourth in the 2016 Olympic final behind Bolt, Gatlin and De Grasse.

Newman rebounds in pole vault

Elsewhere on Sunday, Canadian pole vaulter Alysha Newman carried the momentum from her bronze medal performance at the recent Pan Am Games to a second-place finish behind Katerina Stefanidi of Greece.

The 25-year-old breezed through her first three heights of the day, clearing 4.40 metres, 4.55 and 4.65 on her first attempt before missing all three tries at 4.75.

WATCH | Alysha Newman clears 4.65 metres in Birmingham:

Alysha Newman finishes second in the women's pole vault event in Birmingham with clearance of 4.65 metres. 0:41
Newman, who broke her own Canadian record with a 4.77 clearance in Germany on July 17, went 4.65, 4.56 and 4.55 in three subsequent events ahead of Pan Ams.

Stefanidi entered Sunday's competition at 4.55 and cleared that height and 4.65 on her first attempt before achieving 4.75 on her third and final try.

American Jenn Suhr, 37, was third. She also cleared 4.65 but had five overall misses to Newman's two.

DeBues-Stafford 2nd in women's mile

Toronto native Gabriela DeBues-Stafford placed second of 13 finishers in the women's Millicent Fawcett Mile in honour of the political leader who was instrumental in securing the right to vote for British women in 1918.

The 23-year-old's time of four minutes 22.47 seconds was nearly five seconds off her personal- and season-best time of 4:17.87, set July 12 at a Diamond League meet in Monaco.

WATCH | Gabriela DeBues-Stafford excited about her prospects at worlds:

Gabriela DeBues-Stafford discusses her second place finish in the women's 1 mile event in Birmingham. 0:32
DeBues-Stafford, who now lives in Scotland with her husband Rowan, set a Canadian record of 4:00.26 in the 1,500 at the Müller Anniversary Games in London on July 20 for her third national mark in a 52-day span.

In January, DeBues-Stafford shattered Canadian indoor records in the 5,000 (14:57.45) and mile (4:24.80).

Konstanze Klosterhalfen won Sunday's competition in a meet record 4:21.11, setting a national mark and personal-best in the process. Sonia O'Sullivan of Ireland held the previous record of 4:24.27.

Eilish McColgan of Great Britain rounded out the podium in 4:24.71, also a PB.

Moncton's Lalonde 11th in fast women's steeplechase

Fresh off a Pan Am-record time in the women's 3,000-metre steeplechase, Geneviève Lalonde of Moncton, N.B., was 11th of 16 finishers in nine minutes 31.07 seconds, or more than 10 seconds faster than her Pan Am clocking of 9:41.45 in Peru on Aug. 10.

Beatrice Chepkoech won in a meet record 9:05.55, nearly 12 seconds lower than the previous mark of 9:17.43 by fellow Kenyan Milcah Chemos on June 30, 2013.

Celliphine Chespol, also from Kenya, was second on Sunday in a season-best 9:06.76 while Winfred Yavi of Bahrain rounded out the podium in a personal-best 9:07.23.

"I tried to go with the [lead] group at the beginning," Lalonde, the Canadian-record holder, said. "It's been very tough this year. I haven't got into a lot of races that have gone that fast. Unfortunately, I kind of fell off the pace, but [it was] a really good practice for worlds."

WATCH | Geneviève Lalonde discusses her progress leading up to worlds:

Geneviève Lalonde remains positive after her 11th place finish in the women's 3,000m steeplechase event in Birmingham. 0:43

Miller-Uibo continues 200m dominance

Olympic 400 gold medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas won her 11th consecutive 200, turning back British European champion Dina Asher-Smith and Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

WATCH | Shaunae Miller-Uibo holds off Asher-Smith & Fraser-Pryce:

Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas took the top spot in the women's 200m in Birmingham with a 22.24 time. 4:09

Miller-Uibo, who has not lost at the distance since 2017, pulled away from Asher-Smith with 70 metres to go and won in 22.24 seconds. Asher-Smith clocked 22.36 and Fraser-Pryce 22.50.

"The race didn't go to plan," said Miller-Uibo. "My start was just horrible and had to rely on that 400 speed to get through."

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):

  • Paris (Aug. 24, 2–4 p.m.)
  • Zurich (Aug. 29, 2–4 p.m.)
  • Brussels (Sept. 7, 2–4 p.m.)

About the Author

Doug Harrison has covered the professional and amateur scene as a senior writer for CBC Sports since 2003. Previously, the Burlington, Ont., native covered the NHL and other leagues for Faceoff.com. Follow the award-winning journalist @harrisoncbc

With files from Reuters

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