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


Canadian Andre De Grasse found himself one step back in his season-opening race on Friday.

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

It’s the same event in which De Grasse won his only Olympic gold medal last summer in Tokyo.

But a new season brought new history, with reigning world champion Noah Lyles (19.72 seconds) edging out Fred Kerley (19.75) to claim victory on a day when times were not deemed legal by the wind. The American pair separated from the rest of the field, well ahead of De Grasse and Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago, whose time of 20.142 seconds barely held off De Grasse at 20.146.

“I feel like 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 over 200m:

Andre De Grasse finishes 4th in the men’s 200m at the Doha Diamond League

Noah Lyles of the United States won the men’s 200 meters while Andre De Grasse of Markham, Ont., finished 4th in the season opening Diamond League event in Doha. Aaron Brown of Toronto and Jerome Blake of Burnaby, BC, were 5th and 6th.

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

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

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

WATCH | Canadian athletics on the rise:

Canadian athletics brimming with confidence after Tokyo Olympics

David Moorcroft, a former long-distance runner and now a longtime track and field analyst at CBC Sports, says Canadian track and field fans should be thrilled after the team’s success at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Arop 3rd on 800m

Meanwhile, Canadian Marco Arop started his season on the right foot, finishing third in the men’s 800m.

Arop, of Edmonton, spent much of the race biding his time on the outside, before making his move after the point guard left the track.

It seemed to work as the Canadian found himself in second place down the stretch, but he was passed by Australian Peter Bol.

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

WATCH | Arop ranks 3rd over 800m:

Marco Arop of Edmonton finishes 3rd in men’s 800m at Doha Diamond League

Kenya’s Noah Kibet won the men’s 800 meters followed by Australia’s Peter Bol and Marco Arop of Edmonton in the Diamond League’s first event of the season in Doha.

Canadian Django Lovett notched his own third place in the high jump.

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

Qatari Mutaz Essa Barshim, who memorably shared Olympic gold with his Italian friend Gianmarco Tamberi, came second at home at 2.30 metres. Tamberi was seventh at 2.20.

The Chinese Sanghyeok Woo won the event by clearing a height of 2.33 meters.

For more athletics coverage and analysis, stream CBC Sports Presents: Diamond League Track & Field Saturdays 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 starting at 9 a.m. ET on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.