Reigning Olympic champion De Grasse opens season with 4th-place finish in 200m

·3 min read
Canada's Andre De Grasse, left, placed fourth behind Americans Noah Lyles, centre, and Fred Kerley, right, during the men's 200 metres at the season-opening Diamond League event on Friday in Doha, Qatar. (Karim Jaafar/AFP via Getty Images - image credit)
Canada's Andre De Grasse, left, placed fourth behind Americans Noah Lyles, centre, and Fred Kerley, right, during the men's 200 metres at the season-opening Diamond League event on Friday in Doha, Qatar. (Karim Jaafar/AFP via Getty Images - image credit)

Canada's Andre De Grasse found himself a step behind in his season-opening race on Friday.

The Markham, Ont., native placed fourth in the 200 metres at the Diamond League opener in Doha, Qatar.

It's the same event in which De Grasse earned his lone Olympic gold medal last summer in Tokyo.

But a new season brought a new story, with reigning world champion Noah Lyles (19.72 seconds) edging Fred Kerley (19.75) to pick up the victory on a day where times were not deemed wind-legal. The American duo separated themselves from the rest of the field, well ahead of De Grasse and Trinidad and Tobago's Jereem Richards, whose time of 20.142 seconds barely held off De Grasse at 20.146.

"I feel that I'm getting back in shape," De Grasse said. "My goal for the world championships [in Oregon in July] is to get a medal."

WATCH | De Grasse finishes 4th in 200m:

Fellow Canadians Aaron Brown, of Brampton, Ont., and Jerome Blake, of Burnaby, B.C., finished fifth (20.18) and sixth (20.25), respectively.

De Grasse set the Canadian record in the distance in Tokyo with his time of 19.62.

In addition to that gold medal, De Grasse also helped Canada land silver (after Great Britain was disqualified for doping) in the 4x100m and earned individual bronze in the 100m in Tokyo. He also placed second in the Diamond League Finals in both the 100m and 200m to cap what he called his "greatest season ever."

WATCH | Canadian athletics on the rise:

Canadians Arop, Lovett land 3rd

Meanwhile, Canadian Marco Arop started his season on the right foot, placing third in the men's 800.

Arop, of Edmonton, spent much of the race biding his time on the outside, eventually making his move after the pacer exited the track.

It appeared to work as the Canadian found himself in second place down the stretch, but he was passed by Australia's Peter Bol.

Kenyan Noah Kibet won the race in 1:49.08, ahead of Bol at 1:49.35. Arop, who finished 14th at his Olympic debut in Tokyo, rounded out the top three with a time of 1:49.51.

WATCH | Arop races to 3rd in 800m:

Canadian Django Lovett snagged a third-place finish of his own in the high jump.

The Surrey, B.C., native cleared a season-best 2.27 metres, just three-tenths behind his Tokyo Olympic height of 2.30 metres which left him in eighth place.

Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim, who memorably shared Olympic gold with Italian friend Gianmarco Tamberi, placed second on home soil at 2.30 metres. Tamberi was seventh at 2.20.

WATCH | Lovett jumps to 3rd:

China's Sanghyeok Woo won the event by clearing a height of 2.33 metres.

For more track and field coverage and analysis, stream CBC Sports Presents: Diamond League Track & Field on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. Check your local listings for TV broadcast times.

The Diamond League season resumes next Saturday, with coverage from Birmingham, England beginning at 9 a.m. ET on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.

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