Canadian sprinters Andre De Grasse and Aaron Brown both won their semifinal heats in the men’s 200 metres at the Tokyo Olympics, giving them each a chance to add to Canada’s medal count.
De Grasse cruised into Wednesday’s 200 final with a Canadian-record time of 19.73 in his semifinal. The 26-year-old from Markham, Ont., made it look easy and in classic De Grasse style, he got off to a pedestrian start before laying down a scorching second half, easily reeling in the competition.
He will be looking for his second medal in Tokyo after taking bronze in the 100 metres. He’ll also try to get a medal in the 200 for a second straight Games. De Grasse took silver in the event at the 2106 Rio de Janeiro Olympics when he set his old Canadian-best mark of 19.80 seconds.
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“I knew I had it in me. My (personal best) was from 2016, and I knew I was better than that, especially coming off of the personal best a couple nights ago,” De Grasse said. “I didn’t expect to go that fast. I wanted to save it for the final, but the American Kenny (Kenneth Bednarek) was pushing me a little bit, so I knew I had to make sure I qualified for the final.
“My coach told me ‘make sure you get first because you want to have a good lane for tomorrow night.'”
Brown also ran an impressive semifinal in 19.99 seconds, but his qualification was a little more complicated.
Brown, Joseph Fahnbulleh of Liberia and Noah Lyles of the United States all crossed the line with the same time, and a photo was needed to determine the placing.
Brown and Fahnbulleh received the automatic berths in the final, while Lyles finished third and had to wait until the heats were over before his time was confirmed as good enough to advance.