Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse capped a comeback season in style Saturday as he raced to a bronze medal in the men’s 100 metres at the world track and field championships.
The star runner from Markham, Ont., surged past Commonwealth Games champion Akani Simbine late in the race to finish in a personal-best time of 9.90 seconds.
“I’m grateful to find myself back on the podium, De Grasse said. “Today was definitely a good sign with the personal-best. Next year is going to be a good year for me in the 100 metres”
Christian Coleman, the favourite in Doha, won with a time of 9.76 seconds, while fellow American and two-time world champion Justin Gatlin was second in 9.89 seconds.
Simbine, from South Africa, was fourth in 9.93 seconds.
Aaron Brown of Toronto finished in eighth in 10.08 seconds in his first 100-metre world championship final.
It was the third career world championship medal for De Grasse, who has rejoined the world’s sprinting elite after a frustrating stretch of two lost seasons to hamstring injuries.
De Grasse’s troubles began at the 2017 world championships in London, where his hurt hamstring forced him to withdraw from the 100- and 200-metre events. De Grasse was considered a medal contender in both events after a highly successful three-medal performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“To come back from injuries the past couple years, I’m staying positive and tell myself that I can come back and be where I was. Today was definitely a good sign with the personal-best,” said De Grasse.
Now he can put London in the past and look towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with at least one podium result in Doha. Both De Grasse and Brown are medal contenders in the 200 metres, which start with heats on Sunday.
Later Saturday, Evan Dunfee of Richmond, B.C., won the bronze medal in the 50-kilometre race walk. Dunfee was in fifth place after 40 kilometres and finished the race in 4:05:02 for third.
“My coach Jerry Dragomir and I have been working together for nine years, it’s just so nice to get here, finally to get onto the podium, this medal belongs to so many people,” said Dunfee.
Earlier in the day, Lindsey Butterworth of Burnaby, B.C., finished fourth in her women’s 800 semifinal in two minutes 0.74 seconds. The top two runners from the three semifinals advanced to the final.
Natasha Wodak of North Vancouver, B.C., finished 17th in the women’s 10,000 metres in 32:31.19.
In the men’s 800, Brandon McBride of Windsor, Ont., and Edmonton’s Marco Arop advanced to Sunday’s semifinals. McBride won his heat Saturday in 1:45.96 while Arop was second in his in 1:46.12.
Toronto’s Crystal Emmanuel was fifth in a fast heat in the women’s 100 metres, and her time of 11:30 seconds was enough to see her through to the semifinals.
Canada finished fifth in its heat in the 4x400 mixed relay and didn’t advance.
Evan Dunfee of Richmond, B.C., and Mathieu Bilodeau of Canmore, Alta., competed in the men’s 50-kilometre racewalk later Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 28, 2019.