De Grasse wins Millrose Games race on his professional debut
Feature photo: Andre De Grasse wins at Millrose Games on February 20, 2016 (Photo: Robert Lombardo)
World bronze medallist Andre De Grasse won his first race of the season, the men’s 60-metre at the Millrose Games in New York City.
Running in 6.61 seconds, the Canadian beat top Chinese sprinter Su Bingtian (6.62s) and Jamaica’s Kimmari Roach (6.63s).
“I’m feeling pretty good. This is a great meet, great atmosphere here, I’m pretty happy to make my debut here,” De Grasse told Olympic.ca.
In his post-race press conference De Grasse said he wasn’t too happy with his start, which he said was a work in progress.
“We’re just going back, working on it in practice, try to just get my block setting right. Maybe having other guys around me so I can work on my start.”
“I just gotta go back and focus, get my reaction time down.”
The Canadian also strongly hinted that he’ll be looking to run both the 100m and 200m at Rio 2016 this summer competing in maple leaf colours.
“It would be an honour to represent my country. To be able to go out there, bring back three (Olympic) medals, hopefully.”
“Canada has been great to me and it’s great to be a Canadian.”
De Grasse, 21, joined the professional sprinter ranks ahead of this season, forgoing his final year of athletic eligibility for the University of Southern California, where he first gained prominence last year for winning the 100m/200m NCAA double.
Last summer De Grasse won the Pan American Games 100m/200m double at Toronto 2015, before making the podium twice at Beijing 2015 IAAF World Championships in Athletics.
In the 100m final in Beijing, De Grasse won bronze in 9.92s, then ran the second leg of the men’s 4x100m relay final where Canada took third place behind Jamaica and China. Bingtian, Saturday’s second place finisher to De Grasse, ran the third leg on the Chinese squad.
Several other Canadians competed in New York. On the women’s side Brianne Theisen-Eaton (60m hurdles), Khamica Bingham (60m) and Erin Teschuk (mile); Men’s competition featured Mo Ahmed, Cam Levins and Matt Hughes (3000m) and Mike Mason (high jump).
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Mason was second in the high jump, no other Canadian returned top three places with many simply getting their season underway.
Ahmed finished fifth but broke Kevin Sullivan‘s nine-year old indoor 3000m record with a time of seven minutes 40.11 seconds. Sullivan’s mark was 7:40.17.