Athletics-De Grasse unfazed by less-than-ideal season, eyes podium at worlds

By Amy Tennery

EUGENE, Ore. (Reuters) – Canadian Olympic gold medalist Andre De Grasse said a less-than-ideal season has not dented his confidence as he looks for a podium finish in the 100 and 200 metres at the upcoming World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

He took weeks to get back up to speed after an early season foot injury, finishing last at the Prefontaine Classic in the 100 metres in May before winning a month ago at the Bislett Games.

COVID-19 then kept him from the track in the weeks leading up to worlds and he was unable to produce a finish under 10 seconds in the 100 metres and under 20 seconds in the 200 metres this year before arriving in Eugene.

“You just want to be able to, you know, run under 10 seconds, run under 20 seconds. That’s what your competition is doing. That’s what it’s going to take to win,” he told Reuters.

“My plan is to do it there when it counts. So that’s kind of how I look at it. I just kind of have that faith in myself and have that confidence in myself that I can do it.” The 27-year-old won the 200 metres at the Tokyo Games, a game changer after years spent chasing Jamaican legend Usain Bolt before his retirement. In the 2016 Rio Games, he took home bronze and silver in the 100 and 200 metres, respectively.

“It’s kind of a relief, I guess,” he said. “For so long, I wanted to try to win… (you) work so hard for this moment and you always come up a little bit short.”

His next goal is taking the top of the podium at worlds, after collecting a trio of bronze medals and a silver.

Among those standing in his way are Americans Fred Kerley, the 100 metres world leader who also produced the third-fastest time of 2022 in the 200 metres, and Noah Lyles, who bested him by .12 seconds in the Doha 200-metres final.

“Getting that (Olympic) gold medal kind of took it to the next level to say, like, you know, ‘I can do it’,” he said. “It’s just about just having that patience.”

The world championships will run from July 15-24.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in Eugene, Oregon; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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