Feature photo: Andre De Grasse wins the 200m (AP/Don Ryan via The Canadian Press)
There can be no doubt now that Markham, Ontario’s 20-year old Andre De Grasse is the real deal.
On Friday night in Eugene, Oregon at the NCAA Track and Field Championships, the Canadian won the 100m/200m collegiate double. Had it not been for a slightly advantageous tail wind, he would’ve shattered meet and national records in both events.
De Grasse ran a 9.75-second 100m to win that title, the wind-legal NCAA record is 9.89 by Ngonidzashe Makusha. De Grasse then followed up 45 minutes later with a 19.58 in the 200m (Walter Dix keeps the official collegiate record of 19.69). The 100m had a wind reading of 2.7; it was 2.4 in the 200m. The legal allowable wind is two metres per second (2.0 m/s).
In May of this year De Grasse broke the Canadian 200m record in 20.03 seconds, and then became the third Canadian sprinter to break the 10-second barrier legally with a 9.97 in the 100m. The Canadian 100m record is jointly held by Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin. Thanks to a slight breeze, the two legends’ 9.84 national record is still in tact.
Despite the wind readings on Friday, De Grasse’s times announce him to the international stage as a legitimate threat at the biggest events should he remain fit. In the 100m De Grasse, representing University of Southern California, beat American youngster Trayvon Bromell (9.88) and then another U.S. rising star Dedric Dukes (19.86) in the 200m.
Bromell has a wind-legal 9.90 in the 100m as his personal best, while Dukes has run the 200m in 19.97 under allowable conditions. De Grasse has now pulled ahead of two of his contemporaries, at least in head-to-head challenges.
It is expected that De Grasse will compete for Canada at the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games (there is also national championships in early July in Edmonton), and then the IAAF World Championships in Beijing later this summer.