De Grasse wins 100 meters title; St. Lucia strikes Pan Am gold

Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:15pm EDT
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By Frank Pingue

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's Andre De Grasse and Jamaica's Sherone Simpson won their respective 100 meters finals at the Pan American Games on Wednesday while St. Lucia enjoyed a landmark moment at the multi-sport competition.

De Grasse, Canada's newest sprinting sensation, took the men's final in 10.05 seconds in front of his home crowd while three-times Olympic medalist Simpson crossed the line in a season-best 10.95.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete at home in front of relatives and friends," De Grasse, who will also compete in the 200m and 4x100m relay, told reporters.

"I feel like I've got my first senior national medal, and at home, so that's a great feeling."

Ramon Gittens of the Barbados finished second with a season-best 10.07 while Antoine Adams of St. Kitts and Nevis was third in 10.09, also his fastest of the season.

De Grasse emerged this year as Canada's biggest sprinting sensation since Donovan Bailey, who won the 100m gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics with a then-world record time of 9.84.

He has covered 100m in under 10 seconds three times this year and is putting Canadian sprinting back on the map.

Simpson showed solid form in holding off Ecuador's Angela Tenorio (silver) and American Barbara Pierre (bronze) but felt there was still work to be done before moving on to the Aug. 22-30 world athletics championships in Beijing.   Continued...

Jul 22, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Andre De Grasse of Canada celebrates after winning the men's athletics 100m final during the 2015 Pan Am Games at CIBC Pan Am Athletics Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports