Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Aug 23 2015, Page 17

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - August 23, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE 2 B2 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SUNDAY, AUGUST 23, 2015 SPORTS winnipegfreepress. com MILAN — Canada finished ninth in two Olympic events at the 2015 ICF canoe sprint World Championships on Saturday. Ryan Cochrane of Windsor, N. S., and Hugues Fournel of Montreal took ninth place in the men’s K2 200- metre final while Olympic bronze medallist Mark Oldershaw of Burglinton, Ont., was ninth in the men’s C1 1000. A top- six result was needed to secure an Olympic quota spot in both events. There will be an additional opportunity to qualify quota spots for Canada next May at the Pan American Canoe Sprint Championship and Continental Olympic Qualifier. In non- Olympic events, Katie Vincent of Mississauga, Ont., and Nadya Crossman- Serb of Winnipeg finished sixth in the women’s C2 500 final. Olympic bronze medalist Mark de Jonge of Halifax made a statement in his semifinal of the men’s K1 200, posting the fastest overall time and taking the top spot in his semi. De Jonge, the defending World Champion who holds the world’s fastest time for the event at 33.961 seconds, will try to defend his title in today’s final. Ben Russell of Dartmouth, N. S., and Gabriel Beauchesne- Sevigny of Trois- Rivieres, Que., also had a strong semifinal. The crew placed second in the men’s C2 1000 and had the fifth overall fastest time. They need a top- six result in today’s final to earn an Olympic quota spot for Canada. Eight- time World Champion Laurence Vincent- Lapointe of Trois- Rivieres will attempt to win her ninth World title in the women’s C1 200 final today. — The Canadian Press BEIJING — Who would bet against Usain Bolt in the 100- metre final at the world championships? Looks like lots of folks. Believe it or not, Justin Gatlin became the favourite in the London betting parlours after his scorching time of 9.83 seconds in the first round. Gatlin insisted he wasn’t sending any message to Bolt. He’s just running that fast these days. And Bolt is working his way back up to speed — though tuneup time is over with the semifinals and final set for today. In his heat Saturday, the Jamaican had a mediocre start and his technique early in the race appeared a little ragged. Still, he won in 9.96, one of eight to finish under the 10- second barrier. He just didn’t win as convincingly as Gatlin. “ I wasn’t trying to run fast,” Bolt said. “ I was trying to do as much as possible just to get through the rounds... I was just trying to execute and save as much as possible.” For two years, Gatlin has been winning every 100 race he enters. But none of those have featured Bolt, the worldrecord holder who always saves his best for the biggest of stages. “ You can’t ever count Bolt out,” said Maurice Greene, the Olympic gold medallist in the 100 at the 2000 Sydney Games. “ He’s a competitor. He’s a champion. He’s definitely not coming here to take second. You know he’s going to come out and be prepared. “ And that’s what everybody is wanting to see — how prepared Bolt’s going to be. Because we know Justin will be prepared.” The anticipated showdown between Bolt and Gatlin has been widely portrayed as “ Good vs. Evil.” Bolt is that fun- loving sprinter, who draws his share of the spotlight for his theatrics after a win. Then there’s Gatlin, who served a four- year doping ban. “ I’m not trying to win any popularity contests or win anybody over,” the American recently said. “ I’m trying to do what I’m supposed to do. Hopefully, my actions on the track will show that, to the people that really care. That’s all that really matters.” Lurking in the shadows behind those two could be a surprise winner. Asafa Powell, perhaps? Or maybe Tyson Gay? Both of them won their heats. Don’t count out Churandy Martina of the Netherlands, either. He likes his chances. “ Got to be there so I can take that bone when the other two dogs are fighting for it,” Martina said, smiling. Here are some things to know about Day 2 of world championships: ALMOST HOME Olympic champion Jessica Ennis- Hill of Britain holds a slim lead after the opening four events of the heptathlon. She’s 80 points ahead of teammate Katarina Johnson- Thompson heading into the final day. FRASER- PRYCE IS RIGHT Jamaican sprinter Shelly- Ann Fraser- Pryce gets her title defence started Sunday in the opening heats. Fraser- Pryce has three of the top- five fastest times in the world this season. American teammates Tori Bowie and English Gardner could be Fraser- Pryce’s biggest threats, along with Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria. THE LONG WALK The race walk is usually an event that’s overshadowed, but it has drawn all sorts of scrutiny lately after a scandal in Russia. More than 20 of race- walking coach Viktor Chegin’s athletes have been banned for doping in recent years, with four Olympic gold medallists sanctioned since last year alone. The Russians have won the men’s 20- kilometre event at the last three worlds. But the country has no one entered in today’s race. SHOT IN THE DARK The gold medal in the shot put figures to be between David Storl of Germany and Joe Kovacs of the United States. They’re the only ones to throw more than 22 metres this season. Kovacs has gone over that mark four times in 2015. HAMMER TIME Pawel Fajdek doesn’t lose often in the hammer throw. According to the IAAF, the defending world champion from Poland is 15- 0 at competitions since March. His last loss was to Hungarian rival Krisztian Pars, the runner- up at the last two worlds. — The Associated Press B EIJING — Down in the bowels of the Bird’s Nest Stadium, in the moments before marching out for his heat of the men’s 100 metres Saturday night, Canada’s young sprint star Andre De Grasse was feeling nervous. Warming up nearby were Usain Bolt and Justin Gatlin, with television cameras trailing. They’re giants of the sport, while De Grasse is the unproven rookie. But the 20- year- old from Markham, Ont., composed himself well to finish second in his heat and move on to today’s semifinal — a solid performance in his world championship debut. “ By the time I got into the stadium, and the hype all around it, everyone just cheering, that got my energy up, so I’m feeling pretty good going into the next round,” De Grasse said. “ It wasn’t the best race, tightened up at the end and let Jimmy ( Vicaut of France) get away from me, but I’m going to go back, make the adjustments, and be ready for ( today).” He crossed in 9.99 seconds, the fourth time he’s broken 10 seconds this season. Aaron Brown of Toronto was second in his heat in 10.03, and also advanced. Shawnacy Barber of Toronto easily qualified for the men’s pole vault final, while Brianne Theisen- Eaton of Humboldt, Sask., the world No. 1- ranked heptathlete, had a rough Day 1, and goes into Day 2 in fourth place. Cam Levins of Black Creek, B. C., struggled to a 14th- place finish in the men’s 10,000. Moments after Levins was lapped by two of his training partners — Mo Farah and Galen Rupp — a disappointed Levins politely declined speaking to reporters. Matthew Hughes of Oshawa, Ont., advanced to the final of the 3,000 metres steeplechase, placing third in his heat in 8: 41.52. In the 100, Gatlin had the fastest qualifying time — a slightly windaided 9.83 — setting up what’s been hyped as a spectacular duel between the American sprinter who’s coming back from his second doping suspension, and Bolt. Bolt coasted to an easy win in his heat, crossing in 9.96. De Grasse, who’s had a spectacular breakout season, is one of the young stars of this meet, and Saturday night, several international journalists — including a pair from Norway — were clamouring to hear the story about the young Canadian with the basketball background who’s only been running for three years. De Grasse shyly laughed off suggestions he could play spoiler here today, saying “ I’m just going to go out there, compete, have some fun, try to run a personal best, make the finals, and make the podium.” Brown, who was injured earlier in the season, looked strong in just his fourth 100 race of the season. In the mixed zone afterward, Brown laughed with De Grasse about how the thick gold chain he was wearing got caught on his lip when he was coming out of the blocks. It remained there the entire race. “ It was distracting me, in a race where it’s milliseconds and stuff, it all makes a difference,” Brown said, laughing. “ That was my first time ( wearing a chain)... because everyone else does it. I don’t like it though.” Brown said De Grasse, a double gold medallist at the Pan American Games, has changed Canadian sprinting. “ He’s definitely put a fire under everybody’s feet. Before in Canadian sprinting we had that OK- just- to- behere kind of mentality. But he’s shown that we can win as a Canadian team, it’s pushing us all to be better.” Brown said it’s a blessing De Grasse is so new to the sport. It could allow the young Canadian to fly under the radar and “ shock some people.” “ He doesn’t overthink things, so a big stage like this, he might not feel the pressure, because he doesn’t understand it,” Brown said. “ That’s a good thing to have on your side, because when you don’t feel the pressure and you’re running easy, anything is possible.” Theisen- Eaton appeared to be struggling with pressure in a season that saw her arrive in China with the world’s top score this season in the heptathlon. The 26- year- old, who won silver at the 2011 worlds in Moscow, struggled with high jump especially, and finished the day with 3,865 points. Olympic champion Jessica Ennis- Hill is the leader after four of eight events, with 4,005. “ I have no idea, I have no words. Maybe expecting too much, and going in too tight instead of having fun like I usually do,” Theisen- Eaton said. “ I’m disappointed that there’s no shot at getting gold. My coaches would say, ‘ Don’t say that!’ but I’m just being realistic. Right now any medal I’d be happy with, with the atrocious day I had today.” Barber, meanwhile, easily cleared the required 5.70 metres to move on in the pole vault. If the 21- year- old was feeling any pressure of being one of Canada’s top hope for a medals, it certainly didn’t show. “ That’s the kind of pressure I put on myself... that’s my main goal, to get on the podium and represent Canada well,” he said. “ That’s been the goal from Day 1, to come out and find myself somewhere on the podium.” In a thrilling 10,000 final that capped Day 1 of competition, Levins struggled from the start, finishing in 28 minutes 16.30 seconds — well off his Canadian record of 27.07 he set earlier this year. Mo Farah of Great Britain pulled away from three Kenyans with a spectacular kick to win gold. Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor won silver, while Kenyan teammate Paul Kipngetch Tanui claimed the bronze. — The Canadian Press Canadian paddlers miss out De Grasse sprints into world semis Canuck phenom overcomes nerves in China By Lori Ewing ‘ I’m just going to go out there, compete, have some fun, try to run a personal best, make the finals, and make the podium’ — Andre De Grasse DAVID J. PHILLIP / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Turkey’s Jak Ali Harvey ( from left), Canada’s Andre De Grasse and France’s Jimmy Vicaut run in round one heat of the 100m at the World Athletics Championships. Watch out Bolt, Gatlin is gaining American the favourite in today’s 100- m final By Pat Graham ANDY WONG ( ABOVE), MARK SCHIEFELBEIN ( BELOW) / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Justin Gatlin of the U. S. ( left) says he wasn’t trying to send a message to Jamaica’s Usain Bolt ( above) after his recent scorching time in the 100m. 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