Canadian sprint star Andre De Grasse, who made a successful return from an extended injury layoff over the weekend, has confirmed he will run at the 35th Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome International Track Classic June 26-27 at Swangard Stadium.
The 23-year-old from Markham, ON, native finished fourth at the 100 metres at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. It was first race since a hamstring strain forced him out of last summer’s IAAF World Track and Field Championships in London.
De Grasse will be part of the Canadian team that faces off against top sprinters from China at the Jerome in the China-Canada Sprint Challenge, a ten-event competition over the two days.
This will be De Grasse’s third consecutive year at the Jerome meet and will provide him the opportunity to race on the newly refurbished running service at Swangard.
After the Jerome last year, Andre said “I’m privileged to travel to meets all around the world but nothing compares to competing at home in Canada. I was blown away by the reception of the fans who came to support me, especially all the kids….Meets like the Harry Jerome provide a platform for athletes like myself to inspire young people to live healthy active lives and pursue their dreams. For this reason, I’m grateful to TELUS for helping make the Harry Jerome meet possible and hope to be back with you again next summer celebrating sport and healthy communities.”
De Grasse, who won a silver and two bronze medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics in epic battles with Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt, has been a hugely popular presence at his two previous Jerome appearances. Both times, he was swarmed after his races by hundreds of young fans and autograph seekers. De Grasse called it an “amazing, incredible” experience.
“People just lose their minds (over De Grasse), it’s amazing,” Mathieu Gentes, Athletic’s Canada’s chief operating officer, said last summer. “He’s got an impact that I have never seen a track athlete have on kids and adults.”
Achilles Society’s, Doug Clement said “The return of Andre De Grasse to lead his Canadian team in this sprint dual challenge against China for the Pacific World Cup is clearly a vital step towards our success. Andre, Canada’s outstanding athlete of the year in 2016 was a major factor in the sellout of the Jerome Classic in 2017. We recommend getting your tickets early.”
At the Drake Relays, De Grasse was clocked in 10.15 seconds in a race won by American Isiah Young in 10.02.
De Grasse was pleased with the result. “That’s the fastest opener I’ve ever had,” he said. “For me, it’s all about coming out healthy. Now there are no limits for my next race and as races go on I’ll hopefully continue to get better.”
De Grasse will race the 200 metres on Friday at the Doha Diamond League, where his competition will include world champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey, Diamond League champion Noah Lyles of the U.S. and Canadian countryman Aaron Brown. De Grasse will then race the 100 metres at the Shanghai Diamond League meet on May 12.
At the Jerome, the first four events in the Sprint Challenge will be held on June 26, the men’s and women’s 100 metres and the 4×400-metre relays. On the 27th, it will be the men’s and women’s 200 metres, 400 metres and the 4×100-metre relay. Each event will be scored with the highest-scoring nation taking the Pacific World Cup.
De Grasse is expected to compete in the 100 metres and the 4×100 relay. Canadian sprint head coach Glenroy Gilbert is expected to name his 10-man, 10-woman squad by the end of May. The 20-member Chinese squad is expected to be announced soon.
In addition to the Canada-China Sprint Challenge, the Jerome meet will feature more than 20 other events include men’s and women’s high jump, hurdles, pole vault, javelin and long jump and the men’s 3,000 metres.
All Ticket Packages are available at www.harryjerome.com