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Andre De Grasse shatters Canadian record in 200 metre dash


TORONTO (AP) _ Canadian sprint sensation Andre De Grasse laid down another stunning performance Friday.

The 20-year-old from Markham, Ont., shattered his own Canadian 200-metre record to win gold at the Pan American Games.

De Grasse crossed in 19.88 seconds, beating his previous mark of 20.03 to become the first Canadian in history to run both a sub-10, in the 100 metres, and sub-20 in the 200.

“It’s amazing. It feels so unreal right now,” said De Grasse. “I can’t believe I did it. Somehow I just managed to pull it off. I’m really happy about this.”

Running blind out of Lane 8, amid a world-class field, De Grasse battled down the homestretch to outlean Jamaica‘s Rasheed Dwyer and Panama’s Alonso Edward at the finish line.

Dwyer and Edward crossed in 19.90 _ Dwyer taking the silver and Edward the bronze.

De Grasse won the 100 metres on Wednesday night in 10.05.

His performance led of another strong night at the Pan Am track. Christabel Nettey won gold in the women’s long jump with a distance of 6.90 metres.

The 24-year-old from Surrey, B.C., said the performance is a huge boost of confidence heading into next month’s world championships.

“I really want to podium, but gold would be sweet,” Nettey said. “I’m really happy after today.”

Nathan Brannen of Cambridge, Ont., won silver in the 1,500 metres, while Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Quebec City won the bronze.

Genevieve Lalonde of Moncton, N.B., raced to bronze in the women’s 3,000-metre steeplechase.

De Grasse, meanwhile, has burst onto the international scene this season with a series of eyepopping results. He broke the Canadian record in the 200 _ 20.03 _ before breaking his own mark on Friday.

He also became the first Canadian in 15 years to break the 10-second barrier in the 100.

He’s coming off an NCAA season that saw him sweep the 100 and 200 titles.

Canada sits at 72 gold medals, 63 silver and 60 bronze, second best at the games with 195 medals total. The United States leads the medal standings with 93 golds, 73 silvers and 74 bronze.

Canada also won gold in boxing as Toronto’s Arthur Biyarslanov won the men’s light welterweight final with a split decision over Cuba’s Yasnier Toledo.

Ringside judges scored the bout 28-29, 29-28, 29-28 in Biyarslanov’s favour.

“It feels awesome. It was my goal to win gold for Canada, so I’m very happy,” said Biyarslanov. “Canada hasn’t won a gold in men’s boxing for over 30 years, so I’m glad to have broken that and won a gold for Canada.”

Also, Brienne Stairs of Kitchener, Ont., scored the winning goal as Canada beat Chile 1-0 in the women’s field hockey bronze-medal game.

Genevieve Lalonde of Moncton, N.B., also earned a bronze, finishing the women’s 3,000-metre steeplechase in nine minutes 53.03 seconds. American Ashley Higginson (9:48.12) won gold, while Shalaya Kipp took silver in 9:49.96.

Winnipeg’s Erin Teschuk was fourth in 10:02.33.

Montreal’s Patrice Boily-Martineau won bronze in men’s 75-kilogram karate.

In team sports, Canada will go for men’s basketball gold after defeating the United States 111-108 in an overtime thriller.

The Canadians, who have never finished better than fourth at the Games, needed a rousing fourth-quarter comeback and overtime charge to dispose of the Americans.

“We were playing a very good team,” said forward Andrew Nicholson. “It was a dogfight in the end.”

Canada will play Brazil, which downed the Dominican Republic 68-62 in the earlier semifinal. Both finalists are 4-0.

Also, the United States defeated Canada 5-2 to advance to the championship game in women’s softball.

Despite the loss, the Canadians are guaranteed a medal and still have a chance to play for gold. They’ll play Puerto Rico in Saturday’s final with the winner to play the Americans in the grand final Sunday.

The loser of Saturday’s game will win the bronze.

And the Canadian men’s volleyball team fell three sets to one to Argentina in a semifinal.

Argentina will play for gold Sunday against the winner of a later semifinal between Brazil and Puerto Rico. Canada will play the loser for bronze.

Saskatoon’s Gavin Schmitt led the host team with 25 points.

Meanwhile, Mexico scored twice in the first half and held on to defeat Canada 2-1 to win the bronze medal in women’s soccer.

Midfielder Jessie Fleming scored on a penalty kick awarded for a hand ball in the 88th minute to score Canada’s first goal since opening the tournament last week against Ecuador.

Brazil takes on Colombia on Saturday night in the final.

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