Canada’s Andre De Grasse turned in an impressive season-best performance in the men’s 200 meters to win his first Diamond League title at the Prefontaine Classic on Sunday.
The Markham, Ontario native showed off his latest vintage gear down the stretch to pull ahead and cross the line in 19.76 seconds.
Americans Kenny Bednarek (19.95) and Erriyon Knighton (19.97) placed second and third, respectively. Toronto’s Aaron Brown finished sixth (20.23).
De Grasse, the reigning Olympic 200m champion, had struggled for much of the season, including a sixth-place finish at the world championships in August, but has lately bounced back.
“Next year is obviously going to be a big year with the Olympics, so I wanted to try to give it my all to see where I am next season,” De Grasse said. “For me, it’s really just about staying healthy. I know what I’m capable of if I’m healthy. Obviously I had some challenges this year with my health, and just trying to get my fitness back and my speed back. I see it’s coming back now. “
He is the first Canadian Diamond League champion since shot putter Dylan Armstrong in 2011.
“It’s my first one, so I’m really grateful to be able to get one and put it in my trophy case with all my medals. I definitely hope to get more in the future, but this one feels great.” get the first one,” De Grasse said.
De Grasse and Brown prepared for the final with their fastest 200+ meter races in two years: 19.89 and 19.98 seconds, respectively, last week in Brussels.
De Grasse, who won Olympic gold two years ago, was sixth (20.43) in last year’s season-ending race after battling COVID-19 and a toe injury. He came second in the double sprint at the 2021 Final.
Brown, 31, placed second to Noah Lyles (19.52) in the 200 in last year’s finals, posting a season-high 20.02 to edge Alex Ogando of the Dominican Republic in a photo finish. Brown had never finished in the event’s top three in the finals, placing fourth for four consecutive years between 2017 and 2021.
Arop sets Canadian record
Edmonton’s Marco Arop lowered his 800m personal best to one minute, 42.85 seconds, breaking Brandon McBride’s 2018 national record of 1:43:20 for a second-place finish.
Arop took command from the start, moving to the front of the pack behind pacemaker and training partner Navasky Anderson. He held the lead until halfway down the stretch at Hayward Field when Emmanuel Wanyonyi of Kenya passed him to reach the finish line with a meet record and world-leading time of 1:42.80.
Nijel Amos of Botswana held the previous mark of 1:43.63 as of May 31, 2014.
Arop, 24, ran a PB of 1:43.24 to finish second on Sept. 2 at a Diamond League meet in Xiamen, China, behind only world No. 1 Wanyonyi, who clocked 1:43.20 for a then PB and world leader. .
But Arop, who is ranked second in the world, bested her rival last month at the World Athletics Championships, clocking 1:44.24 to surpass Wanyonyi (1:44.53).
Last September, the Canadian had just won world bronze in Eugene when he made a move one lap from the end of the Diamond League final in Zurich. He led down the stretch, but was caught by Emmanuel Korir of Kenya less than 10 meters from the finish line, placing second behind the reigning Olympic champion with a season-best time of 1:43.38. He was fourth in 2021, with a time of 1:45.23.
In so many races, I’ll feel great in the last 200, 150, 100 [metres] and the last 50 I start to break down or [break] shape.— Marco Arop, Canadian 800 meter record holder
Since his freshman year at Mississippi State University, Arop has had to work on his last 100 meters, trying to figure out his final kick or push.
“In so many races, I will feel very good in the last 200, 150, 100 [metres] and the last 50 I start to break down or [break] shape. Part of it may be mental,” he told CBC Sports this week. “Maybe it’s trying too hard to get to the finish line. I had the advantage and a lot of momentum. [last year in Zurich] entering the final curve.
“I remember thinking, ‘Just keep it together,’ and I heard the crowd noise level increase. I knew someone was [gaining ground on me]. At that time, I got a little nervous, I tried to push myself or work harder. There is a delicate balance in which it is advisable to strive but not overdo it. “It’s getting better, but there’s still a lot I can improve.”
Arop noted that last year’s finals loss left him “hungrier than ever” and said that being crowned Diamond League champion would “solidify this year as my best year.”
Still it was a notable campaign that featured his second consecutive national title and third overall at the senior level, a 1:44.64 performance in Langley, BC.
Chris Woods, Arop’s coach since 2019, highlighted the last four or five years of racing experience and the confidence the middle-distance runner has gained has led him to find ways to win races, whether it’s beating others in the last 100 meters or winning a race. Get out fast and keep people at bay.
“Marco has an incredibly high ceiling,” Woods said earlier this week from MSU. “We haven’t worked much on speed in recent years. He has the potential, historically, to be one of the best two-turn athletes.”
Jackson retains 200m title
Shericka Jackson came out of the turn with a huge lead to retain her Diamond League women’s 200m championship title in 21.57, but fell short of her goal of breaking Florence Griffith-Joyner’s world record.
Jamaica’s Jackson won the Diamond League 100m championship a day earlier and finished more than half a second ahead of Ivorian’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou on Sunday, while Anthonique Strachan of the Bahamas was third in 22.16.
Tsegay breaks world record in women’s 5K
Ethiopian Gudef Tsegay broke the world record in the 5,000 meters, running in 14:00.21.
Tsegay beat the record of 14:05.20 set by Kenyan Faith Kipyegon earlier this year in Paris. Tsegay’s finish was almost 12 seconds better than her personal best. Kenyan Beatrice Chebet came second in 14:05.92.
The Prefontaine Classic, normally held at the end of May, was this year’s final stop on the athletics circuit. The 32 champions crowned during the two-day meet at Hayward Field in Eugene would win $30,000 each.
Duplantis raises pole vault world record to 6.23 m
Swede ArmandDuplantis broke his own pole vault world record, surpassing 6.23 meters.
The performance shaved one centimeter off his previous mark of 6.22 set in France in February.
It was the seventh world record for the back-to-back world champion, who bested the rest of the field at the season-ending meet when EJ Obiena of the Philippines finished second in 5.82 and American Sam Kendricks took third in 5.72.
Olympic champion Duplantis pushed the bar as he surpassed the record height before jumping for joy before running towards his team who lifted him into the air.
In another action:
Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen won his second Diamond League Trophy of the weekend with a victory in the 3,000. In a photo finish with Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha, Ingebrigtsen crossed the finish line first in 7:23.63.
American Athing Mu won the 800 in 1:54.97, a new national and meet record. Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic won the 400 in 49.58.
Ukrainian Yaroslava Mahuchikh won gold in the high jump. Afterwards, she said it was important to show the resilience of Ukrainians as the war with Russia continues. “I’m happy to have the opportunity to compete and show the world that we are stronger, we are from Ukraine,” she said.
Femke Bol of the Netherlands won the title in the 400 hurdles in 51.98, while Tobi Amusan of Nigeria won the 100 hurdles in 12.33.
American Joe Kovacs threw a monster throw of 22.93 meters (75 feet, 2 3/4 inches) to win the men’s shot put, ahead of Oregon native and world record holder Ryan Crouser.
Jamaican Hansle Parchment defeated three-time world champion Grant Holloway in the 110 meters, finishing in 12.93.
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