Canada’s Aaron Brown is back in another final of the World Athletics Championships.
On a sweltering summer night in Eugene, Ore., temperatures were rising above 30 degrees, and just days from competing in the men’s 100-meter final, Brown burned down the track in the 200-meter semifinal.
His time of 20.10 in the evening’s final semi-final was enough to qualify for Thursday night’s final, placing him second behind Arianne Knighton of the United States.
“I felt the pressure inside me. I thought Ariane would be up, but then I felt the pressure inside,” Brown told CBC Sports.
“I leaned in a little and that did the trick. It always comes out to thousandths for me, I guess.”
look | Aaron Brown reaches 200m final
This is the second time in Brown’s career that he has qualified for the 200m final at the World Championships.
Jerome Blake of Burnaby, BC, in his World Championship debut, was also attempting to punch a ticket to the finals.
Knighton was the second fastest final qualifier in a time of 19.77. Fellow American Noah Lyles was fastest in the evening with a time of 19.62.
United States 100 m champion Fred Carey ran his semi-final and was injured as he ran off the track. He did not qualify for the final.
Brown, now getting ready for his sixth race in the world, says the grind is starting to show its effect and needs rest.
Brown said, “I definitely need it. It’s starting to catch up with me. I looked at Fred. It took hold of him. It’s about conserving energy and walking smart.”
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At 30, Brown calls himself a shrewd veteran. And he certainly has been relying on all his years of experience in these worlds.
Exactly 24 hours earlier, on Monday night, Brown faced a bizarre situation while competing in his 200-meter heat.
When the gunshot was heard, Brown went to blast off the block, but his blocks jumped out of the track and went uncontrollable – Brown fell on the track.
The official immediately stopped the race and brought the sprinters back to reset.
Brown, a five-time 200m national champion, needed to quickly prepare himself and refocus. The second time they landed well and the Browns managed to finish second in the heat, qualifying them for Tuesday’s semi-finals.
After the race, Brown told CBC Sports that this had never happened before in his career.
“The blocks slipped back. I’m not sure how. I put them in the ground and then I don’t know, it just slipped,” he said in disbelief.
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Brown said he had slight cramps after the fall but was able to recover from the heat.
“I’m not going to stop it. I had some tightness and maybe a little bit of tension, but nothing that I can’t run away from. I’m not going to make excuses here,” he said.
Brown made his world debut in 2013. He was part of the bronze medal 4x100m relay team. He then won another relay world bronze medal in 2015.
But for the amount of success Brown has had internationally, it’s the personal podium finish he so badly craves in the latter part of his career.
“I love running with my guys and being able to go on the podium and share that moment with my team and really the country because it’s like an event for the country,” Brown said.
“But it’s different when it’s Brown out there. It’s just me because I know all the work I’ve done for myself and everything I’ve invested in and all the people who believe in me and my talent and What can I achieve, my potential will be fulfilled if I am able to get there myself.”
Canada’s six-time Olympic medalist Andre de Grasse was missing from the field. He dropped 200 meters on Sunday evening.
De Grasse, who is the reigning Olympic champion in the event, tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time in less than three weeks.
He was suffering from several symptoms including shortness of breath. This forced him to recall the citizens in Langley, BC in late June.
De Grasse plans to compete in the 4x100m relay at the end of the event.
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