De Grasse narrowly qualifies for world 100m semifinals with late push

EUGENE, Ore. — For much of Andre De Grasse’s 100-meter race Friday night, the rust of not running and the ravages of COVID-19 seemed evident.

But with around 20 meters to go, the six-time Olympic medalist found another speed to climb into second place, automatically qualifying for Saturday’s semi-finals at the world championships in athletics.

“It’s good to get rid of the rust today,” De Grasse said. “So now I can just…let it all out (Saturday) in the semis. It’s going to be hard. So, I just have to go out there and try to make the best of the season.

His time of 10.12 seconds was 19th fastest on a scorching night of racing at Hayward Field. Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Fred Kerley led the heats with an impressive 9.79, while American teammate Trayvon Bromell was second in 9.89.

“The track is amazing. The atmosphere is great. So there will definitely be fast times (Saturday),” said De Grasse. “There are a lot of people who can get on that podium, so you just have to do one race at a time to try to qualify and to qualify for the final.”

Aaron Brown of Toronto ran a season best 10.06 to qualify.

The final is also Saturday.

De Grasse, 27, from Markham, Ont., has never missed the podium in an individual race at the world championships or the Olympics. He has four bronze medals in the 100 meters, two world championships and two Olympic Games.

But a foot injury slowed him down earlier in the season. He was finally fit, running 10.05 on June 16 to win the Oslo Diamond League, but announced days later that he had contracted COVID-19. He recently said in an interview with The Canadian Press that even climbing stairs left him out of breath.

Although he’s entered in the 200m, his best event and the distance he sprinted to Olympic gold in Tokyo, he recently said whether he runs it in Eugene could be a “game call”. .

Canada’s Django Lovett competes in qualifying for the men’s high jump at the World Championships in Athletics, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Eugene, Ore.

  • Canada's Camryn Rogers of Richmond, B.C. competes in qualifying for the women's hammer throw at the World Championships in Athletics, Friday, July 15, 2022, in Eugene, Oregon.  Rogers qualified for the final with her shot.

Meanwhile, it only took one throw for Camryn Rogers to earn a berth in her first world hammer throw final.

The 23-year-old from Richmond, British Columbia, threw a throw of 73.67 meters on the first day of the world athletics championships, surpassing the automatic qualifying mark of 73.50. She then called him a day.

“We went in there with the execution plan and to do it on the first pitch,” Rogers said. “It’s a plan and a point that we’ve been working to make consistent throughout the season. And so coming here and getting the job done when it counts, that’s all. And now we can move forward. and be really excited and excited for the final (Sunday).

It was the fourth-best throw of the day, but a far cry from her Canadian record of 77.67 she hit last month. This brand ranked it #4 in the world.

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

Rogers finished fifth in her Olympic debut last summer in Tokyo and was the youngest athlete in the final. She is aiming to smash her Canadian record in the final, which could earn her the first medal for Canada in this event.

“We always have a plan…to come to Tokyo, my first Olympics, it was so exciting,” she said. “And now we know there’s still a lot to do. There’s more room to improve. And you can always work on things and work to push yourself even more to reach the next levels.

“And so the plan is to keep building…and get a new (personal best). And if that also means coming away with a medal, then that’s our goal.

Weeks after breaking her Canadian record in the shot put, Sarah Mitton’s 19.38-metre throw on her second shot earned her a spot in Saturday’s final.

“Qualifying was awesome,” she said. “I knew I had what was in there to go out and throw at 18.90, when I heard it was automatic qualifying. It was just about going out and believing in myself and trusting all the work that I put in… 19.38, it’s not a joke, it’s my best performance at this level.

The 26-year-old from Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, is ranked third in the world after throwing 20.33 meters — a huge Canadian record — at the national championships. At the time, it was the farthest throw in the world this season.

Django Lovett, a 30-year-old from Surrey, British Columbia, was flawless in the men’s high jump qualifying to begin his quest for a medal at the world championships in athletics. Lovett cleared a season-best 2.28 meters on his first attempt to clinch his place in Monday’s final.

He was one of six jumpers to reach that height on their first attempt.

“My goal was to be clear throughout and not to mess things up, and we made that work,” said Lovett, whose mother 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 dynamic, joyful and encouraging environment.

Lovett finished eighth in her Olympic debut in Tokyo last summer. The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist won the Birmingham Diamond League tie in May.

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

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 15, 2022.

Colin L. Johnson