Aaron Brown sprints to 200-metre victory ahead of Diamond League season opener

·4 min read
Canada's Aaron Brown beats American Kyree King to the finish line in the men's 200 metres at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi, Kenya. Brown’s time of 20.05 seconds at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meet is his fastest-ever to open a season at the distance. (Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images - image credit)
Canada's Aaron Brown beats American Kyree King to the finish line in the men's 200 metres at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi, Kenya. Brown’s time of 20.05 seconds at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meet is his fastest-ever to open a season at the distance. (Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images - image credit)

Aaron Brown's wide grin after sprinting across the finish line said it all for the three-time Canadian Olympian.

He turned a lightning-quick start in the men's 200 metres into a wind-assisted winning time of 20.05 seconds on Saturday in Nairobi, Kenya, Brown's fastest-ever season-opening finish in the outdoor event.

The Toronto native clocked 20.19 to open his 2014 outdoor campaign at the Gainesville Florida Relay and five years later went 20.20 at the Diamond League season opener in Doha, Qatar.

Last season, the Florida resident didn't run under 20.05 until the Aug. 3 semifinals at the Tokyo Olympics, where he stopped the clock in 19.99 on the way to a sixth-place finish in the final (20.20).

WATCH | Brown wins his 200-metre season opener in 20.05 seconds:

The three-time defending Canadian champion outlasted Kyree King (20.18) of the United States down the straightaway at the Kip Keino Classic on Saturday, while Isaac Makwala of Botswana was third of seven finishers at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold event.

Kenya's Mike Mokamba was disqualified for a false start in Kasarani.

Trio of 200m wins in 2021

In four competitions post-Summer Games, Brown's fastest performance was 20.12 at the Diamond League's Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore.

The 29-year-old won three 200s in 2021, at Canadian Olympic trials and his heat and semifinal races in Tokyo.

This summer, Brown will look to lower his 20.10 clocking from the 2019 world championships when this year's event is held in the U.S. for the first time in July at Hayward Field in Eugene.

On May 13, he will take the line in a stacked 200 at the Diamond League opener in Doha, where he will be joined by fellow Canadians Andre De Grasse and Jerome Blake.

WATCH | World Athletics Nairobi full-event replay:

It'll mark the season opener in the 200 for De Grasse, the reigning Olympic champion at the distance after he posted a 19.62 personal best in Tokyo. Blake, 26, posted a 20.04 PB in his 200 opener on April 16 at the USATF Golden Games in Walnut, Calif.

The Doha race, which will be lived streamed at CBCSports.ca at 1:12 p.m. ET, will also feature two elite American sprinters, 2020 Olympic bronze medallist and 2019 world champion Noah Lyles and Fred Kerley, who won Olympic silver last summer.

1st race since move to Victoria

In other track and field action, Gabriela DeBues-Stafford won the women's 1,500 at the Sound Running Track Meet on Friday night in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.

The 26-year-old from Toronto crossed the finish line in four minutes 3.20 seconds, running under the 4:04.20 world championship standard in her first race since leaving the Bowerman Track Club in Portland, Ore., last month to train with Trent and Hilary Stellingwerff in Victoria.

In February, DeBues-Stafford shattered the Canadian women's mark by over 12 seconds in the indoor 3,000 and five days later set the North American record in the 5,000 at Boston University.

She will run the 1,500 at the Prefontaine Classic on May 28 before heading to Europe for a couple of races.

At the same Friday meet, Quebec City's Charles Philibert-Thiboutot achieved the world standard in the 5,000, clocking 13:12.76, or shaving nearly 10 seconds off his previous best of 13:22.44 from Dec. 4, 2020, also in San Juan Capistrano.

The 31-year-old has also qualified in the 1,500 for the July 15-24 worlds, having run under the 3:35 standard with a 3:34.43 effort last July 25 in Azusa, Calif. His 2022 indoor season was cut short in early January when he suffered a torn left soleus, a muscle in the back of the leg that runs from just below the knee to the heel.

But a fully healed Philibert-Thiboutot, the reigning national 1,500 outdoor champion, stopped the clock in 13:35 at a 5K in Boston on April 16, breaking Paul Williams' Canadian mark of 13:36 set in 1986.

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