De Grasse eyes Bailey's record

June 10, 2016
Andre De Grasse

OSLO, Norway:

Andre De Grasse took the region by storm at the Pan American Games on home turf in Toronto last year winning gold medals in the 100m and 200m and then went to Beijing and won bronze in the 100m at the IAAF World Championships.

The 21-year-old Canadian, who also has NCAA 100m and 200m titles, while running for the University of Southern California, hasn't done much since then.

After turning professional last December, he won the men's 200m at the IAAF Diamond League in Birmingham on Sunday with a time of 20.16 seconds.

underdog

He told Star Sports that leaving the college system has taken some adjustment. He moved from coach Quincy Watts and is now working with Stuart McMillan.

"Training is a lot different from when I was in the NCAA system when you start back in September/October. Now I start in January/February so it's kind of just getting used to that. I think as time goes on and I still have a month and a half to trials I think I'll be okay," De Grasse said.

The athlete, who was born in Canada to a Trinidadian mother and Barbadian father, has personal bests 9.92 seconds in the 100m and a national record 19.88 in the 200m.

He said despite his successes last season, which includes being part of Canada's 4x100m World Championship bronze medal team, he still feels like the underdog.

"I still have a lot to prove. I'm young. I still feel like those guys have a lot more pressure. Usain (Bolt) and (Justin) Gatlin and the older guys because they're going ... it's their last couple years. I just want to come in here ... I'm young and try to compete with them," he said.

"It's a big transition for me. It started off really rough but getting my first Diamond League win in Birmingham has given me a lot more confidence. I'm still learning," he said.

De Grasse's ambitions for this season include breaking the 9.84 second Canadian national 100m record set by his countryman Donovan Bailey in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

The fact that it's the 20-year anniversary of when that record was set, places greater importance on the feat in De Grasse's eyes.

"Everyone's telling me go for it. They believe that I can do it. Even Donovan says I'm capable of doing it...I have the talent so that's kind of what my goal is," he said.

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