Another opportunity presents itself Saturday when Andre De Grasse shifts his focus back to the 100 metres at a Diamond League meet in Shanghai (CBCSports.ca, 7 a.m. ET).
The 2016 Canadian Olympian is coming off a disappointing sixth-place performance in his 200 season debut last Friday in Doha, Qatar, a week after De Grasse returned from a nine-month injury layoff to finish fourth in the 100 in 10.15 seconds at Drake Relays.
"This is an opportunity for Andre to show people that what happened the last two weeks [isn't anything to worry about] and that he's coming into his own," says CBC Sports analyst Donovan Bailey. "His top-end speed is there, so clearly the [right hamstring] isn't bothering him."
De Grasse suffered a Grade 2 strain during a training run ahead of the world track and field championships last August in London, where he had hoped to get one final chance to beat the retiring Usain Bolt, an eight-time Olympic champion. Bolt clocked 9.95 to place third, behind winner Justin Gatlin (9.92) and fellow American Christian Coleman (9.94), who isn't racing in China this weekend due to a hamstring injury, according to Diamond League officials.
The 36-year-old Gatlin, who opened his 2018 season on April 21 with a winning time of 10.05 at the Grenada Invitational track meet in St. George's, has engaged in an interesting back-and-forth with De Grasse the past two years.
- Gatlin captured a silver medal two years ago at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, edging De Grasse by 2-100ths of a second.
- Eight months later, De Grasse defeated Gatlin in a heat race at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas before the latter reclaimed bragging rights at the Diamond League season opener in Doha on May 5, 2017.
- De Grasse gained the upper hand later that month at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., crossing the line fourth in 9.96, with Gatlin fifth in 9.97.
"Gatlin has got more technically sound with age," said Bailey. "He's not afraid; he's a big-meet competitor. He's consistently smooth out of the [starting] blocks into a perfect transition. That's how he won at worlds. The person who makes the fewest mistakes wins and [Gatlin] is always consistent."
Saturday's field also features reigning world 200 champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey, 2017 London Diamond League 100 winner CJ Ujah and Isiah Young, who ran 10.11 in Grenada. China's Bingtian Su is fresh off an indoor season in which he broke the Asian 60 record three times, including a personal-best 6.42 at the world championships. The 28-year-old won the 100 outdoors last year at Shanghai in 10.09.
Five other Canadians are competing in Shanghai:
Alyx Treasure, women's high jump (6:15 a.m. ET): The 25-year-old from Prince George, B.C., cleared 1.85 metres to finish in a tie for fourth at Drake Relays at the end of the April, two weeks after matching that result at her first Commonwealth Games (season-best 1.91). Treasure's personal best is 1.94, set in qualifying for the 2016 Olympic final in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she was 17th (1.88).
Shawn Barber, men's pole vault (6:47 a.m.): At the recent Commonwealth Games in Australia, Barber cleared 5.65 metres to win a silver medal, four years after capturing bronze in Glasgow. In March, the 23-year-old Toronto native entered indoor track and field worlds with a season's best mark of 5.81 but placed last of 15 competitors. After succeeding the first time at 5.45, he failed on all three attempts at 5.60.
Sage Watson, 400m hurdles (7:03 a.m.): Watson, 23, was sixth in 56.55 seconds at Drake Relays in April. The native of Medicine Hat, Alta., broke Jillian Richardson's 30-year-old Canadian record of 37.17 at the Millrose Games in February, clocking 37.08 in the 300 to finish second. Watson, a 2016 Olympian, placed fifth at this year's Commonwealth Games in 55.43. Her personal best is 54.52.
Liz Gleadle, women's javelin throw (7:40 a.m.): The Vancouver native begins a new season nine months after placing eighth among nine competitors with a best throw of 59.06 metres to end a disappointing 2017 Diamond League campaign at Weltklasse Zurich. Gleadle, 29, shone at London Stadium last July with a throw of 64.47 to threaten her Canadian women's record of 64.83 leading into the world track and field championships.
Brandon McBride, men's 800m (8:04 a.m.): McBride, 23, opens his second season as a pro middle-distance runner in Shanghai. A mentally and emotionally exhausted McBride called it a season shortly after the Aug. 20 Diamond League meet in Birmingham, England. The Windsor, Ont., native ran a season-best 1:44.41 in Monaco last July to inch closer to Gary Reed's 1:43.68 Canadian mark. The 2017 national champion was eighth at the world championships the following month in 1:47.09.
Diamond League on CBC Sports
CBC Sports is providing live streaming coverage of all 14 Diamond League meets this season at CBCSports.ca and via the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. TV coverage will be featured as part of the network's Road To The Olympic Games weekend broadcasts throughout the season.
The following is a list of upcoming Diamond League meets:
- Shanghai (Saturday, 7 a.m. ET)
- Eugene – Prefontaine Classic (May 26, 4 p.m. ET)
- Rome (May 31, 2 p.m. ET)
- Oslo (June 7, 2 p.m. ET)
- Stockholm (June 10, 10 a.m. ET)
- Paris (June 30, 2 p.m. ET)
- Lausanne (July 5, 2 p.m. ET)
- Rabat (July 13, 1 p.m. ET)
- Monaco (July 20, 2 p.m. ET)
- London (July 21-22, 10 a.m. ET, 9 a.m.)
- Birmingham (Aug. 18, 3 p.m. ET)
- Zurich (Aug. 30, 2 p.m. ET)
- Brussels (Aug. 31, 2 p.m. ET)