De Grasse has COVID, will not run double sprint this week in national athletics

Andre De Grasse and Damian Warner are among the latest Canadian Olympians to drop this week’s track and field nationals from their competition schedule.

De Grasse, the two-time triple Olympic medalist, will not run the 100 and 200 meters in Langley, BC, after testing positive for COVID-19 on his return from France, where he ran 20.38 seconds in the 200 meters, the fastest time in the season. on Saturday at the Paris Diamond League Meeting.

The sprinter from Markham, Ontario, makes his home in Jacksonville, Florida, his agent Brian Levine confirmed to CBC Sports on Tuesday.

“Obviously I am quite disappointed not to be able to race at home in front of the Canadian fans at Langley,” De Grasse said in a statement to The Canadian Press. “Hopefully I can get back to training pretty quickly and get ready for the rest of the season.”

De Grasse won the first Olympic gold medal of his career and the first by a Canadian in the 200 since 1928 last summer, setting a national record of 19.62 in Tokyo. He also collected bronze in the 100 and silver in the 100 relay.

On June 16, the 27-year-old won his first Diamond League race of the season, clinching the 100 in 10.05 – another season best – at the Bislett Games in Oslo, Norway.

Damian Warner, pictured at the discus event at the Hypo Meeting in May, withdrew from the Canadian track and field championships due to knee pain. (Dietmar Stiplovsek/APA/AFP/Getty Images)

Warner, the world’s top-ranked decathlete, pulled out of nationals Monday with knee pain that has hampered the London, Ontario native “on and off all year,” according to his coach.

“We’re not going to take any chances,” Gar Leyshon told CBC Sports. “We’re just being cautious about [world championships less than] a month away The World Cup is an opportunity”.

De Grasse is also hoping to return for the July 15-24 event at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

Athletics Canada has an injury/illness waiver built into the qualifying criteria that allows athletes to miss national championships. They can be named to the team that has reached the standards in the qualification window.

Others not competing at nationals include long-distance runner Moh Ahmed and wheelchair runner Brent Lakatos, according to a list released Monday night by Athletics Canada.

“Andre De Grasse, Damian Warner and Mohammed Ahmed are out of the [national event] having received medical exemptions from our medical staff,” the national federation said in a statement to The Canadian Press. “Athletics Canada hopes that all three will be healthy and ready for when the world championships begin.”

Ahmed has been dealing with a calf problem since finishing fifth in the men’s 5,000 at the Golden Gala Rome Diamond League event on June 9 and there was no point racing in BC with the short turnaround time, his agent Dan Lilot told Reuters. CBC Sports.

“He had an MRI and it appears to be just a muscle problem,” Lilot added. “I don’t think the selection or the participation in the World Cups will be affected.”

Warner, who won her first Olympic gold medal last year, has signed up for some individual events but not the decathlon at Langley, where competition begins Thursday at McLeod Athletics Park.

In less than complete health, the 32-year-old claimed a sixth consecutive decathlon title in late May at the Hypo Meeting in Götzis, Austria.

CLOCK | Warner rules the decathlon for the 6th Hypo Meeting title:

Damian Warner wins the 110m hurdles en route to record seventh Decathlon Hypo Meeting title

Olympic champion Damian Warner of London, Ontario, won the 110m hurdles event, en route to claiming his sixth consecutive decathlon title at Hypo Meeting, and his record seventh title overall, in Götzis, Austria.

In March, he became world indoor champion for the first time after beating Simon Ehammer of Switzerland by 126 points in the seven-event heptathlon in Belgrade, Serbia, to raise his Canadian record to 6,489 points.

Warner won his first Olympic title on Aug. 5, racking up a Canadian and Games record 9,018 points on a hot night in Tokyo.

Middle-distance runner Gabriela DeBues-Stafford of Toronto was forced to suspend her season last week due to a stress reaction in the sacrum, located below the lumbar spine and above the tailbone.

The 26-year-old felt discomfort during the warm-up before an 800m race on June 6 and was forced to withdraw at the FBK Games in Hengelo, the Netherlands.

DeBues-Stafford, who holds seven Canadian indoor and outdoor records, was hoping for a chance to improve on her sixth place finish in the 1500 at the 2019 world championships. She was fifth in the Tokyo Olympic final.

Distance runner Justyn Knight (Achilles) and hurdler Sage Watson (back) will also not compete this week.

7th in Olympic debut

Knight, 25, has been plagued by injury since last summer.

“It’s been getting better,” the Toronto native told CBC Sports, “but not where [my coaches and I] I want it to be so I don’t go to nationals.”

Knight finished seventh on his Olympic debut in Tokyo, stopping the clock in 13:04.38 in the men’s 5,000, more than 22 seconds faster than his 10th-place finish at the 2019 world championships.

Watson said she injured her back about six weeks before the 2020 Olympics and announced last week on Facebook that she will step away from competition to “completely recover and give my body the rest it needs and deserves.”

The 28-year-old from Seven Persons, Alta., ranked 13th in the Olympic women’s 400m hurdles last year.

“This year when I started to work through the pain of the injury, it was still there and for months I tried to pull through and get back healthy, but this injury now requires me to take some time off to fully recover,” Watson said in a statement. issued by his agent, Claudia Cusano.

“I have been advised not to compete this summer and to come back healthy and strong for the 2023 season and the 2024 Olympic year… I can’t wait for the comeback season!”

Watson also anchored the Canadian Olympic women’s 400 relay team to a fourth-place finish in 3:21.84, beating the team’s previous 2021 best time of 3:24.05 by more than two seconds and coming within 63-100 of a national record ( 3:21.21) that has stood for 37 years.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians, from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community, check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.


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