Canada’s Andre De Grasse will leave the World Athletics Championships in Budapest empty-handed.
The Markham, Ont., native placed sixth in the 200 metres on Friday with a time of 20.14 seconds, two hours after choosing to skip the 4×100 relay heats for rest.
“I made the final through all of this challenging season,” De Grasse said. “I shouldn’t have been here, to be honest. I shouldn’t have been in the final just the way my season was going.”
WATCH | Lyles wins 200 as De Grasse crosses 6th:
Without De Grasse, the reigning world champion Canadian relay team failed to reach Saturday’s relay final, placing sixth in their heat at 38.25 seconds.
De Grasse, 28, said he watched the relay heats from the back.
“Hopefully the schedule’s not like that in [the] Paris [Olympics] where you gotta run a 4×100 and a final in the same day because that will cost us,” De Grasse told CBC Sports’ Andi Petrillo.
“Of course if I was on the anchor leg we’d have been in the final, but I only had one run in my legs so I had to just give it my best shot in the 200 to give me a chance to get on the podium.”
WATCH | De Grasse discusses 200m final:
American Noah Lyles, who’d boasted about breaking Usain Bolt’s 200 record, fell well short of that mark but still won gold in 19.52 seconds. U.S. teen Erriyon Knighton snagged silver at 19.75 seconds, while Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo bagged bronze in 19.81 seconds.
De Grasse had previously reached the podium at every Olympics and world championships he’s ever attended.
“Mentally I know I’m there, so physically I just have to keep up,” De Grasse said. “Trying to get that training in, staying consistent, being healthy when it counts — those are all things I need to work on going into next year.”
With the win, Lyles, 26, becomes the first man to complete the 100-200 double at worlds since Bolt in 2015.
“Winning double golds was one of the things on my list [of goals],” Lyles said. “I wanted to show I am different. Today I came out and showed it. I am double champion.”
He’ll aim for his third medal of the meet in Saturday’s relay final, where the favoured Americans won’t have to contend with Canada.
In De Grasse’s place during heats was Bolade Ajomale, who struggled badly down the final stretch.
WATCH | Canadian men eliminated from relay:
Jerome Blake, the Kelowna, B.C., native who ran the second leg, said he wasn’t frustrated with De Grasse for his decision to skip the race.
Racing in Lane 9, Toronto’s Aaron Brown got Canada off to a blazing start before handing off to Blake, who kept the momentum going.
Canada’s race began coming apart with a slight wobble on the exchange between Blake and Brendon Rodney of Etobicoke, Ont.
WATCH | Brown, Blake reflect on final:
But while Rodney held on, Ajomale, the Richmond Hill, Ont., native who helped Canada win relay bronze at Rio 2016, couldn’t quite finish the job.
“We’re the defending champions, so you can only imagine that not even getting to the final is pretty defeating and upsetting,” said Ajomale. “We felt pretty good honestly, just didn’t get there as fast as we wanted to.”
“I am stunned.”<a href=”https://twitter.com/perditafelicien?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@perditafelicien</a> breaks down what went wrong for the men’s 4x100m relay team and how it’s now raised the pressure on Andre De Grasse to perform in the 200m final 😬<br><br>WATCH: <a href=”https://t.co/EmLfkkKX5v”>https://t.co/EmLfkkKX5v</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Z6htAZYAzl”>pic.twitter.com/Z6htAZYAzl</a>
The result may have been especially bitter for Brown, who was disqualified from Thursday’s 200 semifinals after posting a time fast enough to advance.
He said he’s now fully focused on next summer’s Paris Olympics.
“I was already at max level so you can’t get higher. After yesterday, you can’t motivate me anymore. … We’ll be back at the top of the mountain, I can guarantee that,” he said.
An Italian team fronted by Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs was the fastest qualifier with a world-leading time of 35.65 seconds, just ahead of the Americans at 35.67 seconds.
WATCH | Which Usain Bolt record is most likely to fall?
Later, Jamaican Shericka Jackson delivered a commanding performance and retain her world 200 title in 21.41 seconds — the second-fastest time ever run.
Jackson, second in the 100 final, ran a brilliant bend, was two metres clear coming into the home straight and tore home to win by a street. Only Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 21.34 world record from 1988 is faster.
Gabby Thomas took silver in 21.81, while fellow American Sha’Carri Richardson added bronze to her 100 gold with a personal best 21.92.
WATCH | Jackson roars to victory:
In the women’s relay event, Briana Williams, Elaine Thompson-Herah, Shashales Forbes and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce — three of whom won Olympic gold in Tokyo — brought Jamaica home well clear in the first heat in 41.70.
The U.S. were similarly impressive in winning the second in 41.59, with the Ivory Coast setting an African record 41.90 and Italy a national record of 42.14 to join them in the final.
LePage, Warner start strong
Meanwhile, Canada’s Pierce LePage and Damian Warner got off to strong starts in the decathlon.
LePage, who won silver at last year’s worlds, and Warner, the reigning Olympic champion, sit second and third, respectively, through Friday’s five events
Germany’s Leo Neugebauer currently holds the top spot with 4,640 points, but LePage (4,610) and Warner (4,578) are both nipping at his heels.
“Right now there’s a lot of decathletes competing really, really well, and Leo and Pierce and myself are right at the top,” said Warner. “It’s gonna be about who executes tomorrow, and I’m up for the challenge.”
WATCH | LePage tops 400 heat:
LePage, the 27-year-old from Whitby, Ont., edged Warner for top spot at the famed Hypo meeting in May in Götzis, Austria.
He has the upper hand on his Canadian rival once again after placing fourth in the 100 (10.45 seconds), eighth in long jump (7.49 metres), third in shot put (15.81 metres), third in high jump (2.08 metres) and capping his day with a season’s best run in the 400 (47.21 seconds) to win his heat.
“We’re both coming, we’re both fighting,” LePage said.
WATCH | Warner wins decathlon 100:
Warner, the 33-year-old from London, Ont, was leading the decathlon through four events at the 2022 world championships before pulling up with a hamstring injury while running in the inside lane of the 400 metres.
He was placed in Lane 3 in Budapest, where he was able to cross the finish line, albeit with a fifth-place finish in his heat at 47.86 seconds.
“No flashbacks,” Warner said. “I think there’s so many other things that are involved with the 400 that are gonna distract you, like the pain that’s gonna come. But I’m in a better position than I was last year at this point, so I’m happy with that.”
The Olympic record holder still sits third on the strength of victory in the 100 at 10.32 seconds in addition to placing third in long jump (7.77 metres) before a season’s best throw landed him 10th in shot put (15.03 metres) and high jump of 2.05 metres to slot fifth.
The decathlon continues Saturday with the 110 hurdles at 4:05 a.m. ET.
Earlier, Toronto’s Jazz Shukla missed qualification for the women’s 800 final, coming seventh in her semifinal heat with a personal best of two minutes 0.23 seconds.
“It was my second time doing rounds this year after nationals, and what I’ve learned is I need to be a little more rounds ready with the legs,” Shukla said. “That’s a good learning experience to bring into next year.”
Canada hasn’t managed to win a medal on the track at this year’s world championships.
WATCH | Full coverage of the morning session in Budapest: