Aaron Brown won the 100 metres at the Harry Jerome International Track Classic. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Aaron Brown wins 100 metres, Andre De Grasse third at Harry Jerome meet

BURNABY, B.C. — It was exactly the message Aaron Brown wanted to send.

Brown won the 100 metres at the Harry Jerome International Track Classic on Tuesday night while triple-Olympic medallist Andre De Grasse finished third. Brown said the win, in a time of 10.21 seconds, sets him up well heading into next month’s Canadian championships.

“We have a rivalry going on,” said Brown. “I want to be the best, he wants to be the best.

“I want that to be on his mind going into nationals and be cognizant of me, know that I’m there and I’m going to be stronger. I just want to put something in the back of his mind the next time he lines up.”

De Grasse, who was timed in 10.36, congratulated Brown on the win but promised to be faster.

“He knows I’m a little bit vulnerable,” said De Grasse. “He wasn’t supposed to be even in this race. He wanted to try to send a message to me. It’s OK. I’m all right with that.

“I’m just going to look forward to nationals and race him again.”

China’s Xu Zhouzheng was second in 10.33 seconds.

Both Brown and De Grasse will be part of the 4×100 relay in Wednesday’s final night of the two-day event being held at Swangard Stadium on the border of Vancouver.

Both events are part of the Jerome meet’s China-Canada Sprint Challenge.

De Grasse is using the Jerome meet to get his legs back after a couple of disappointing Diamond League performances.

The 23-year-old from Markham, Ont., is finally healthy after recovering from a Grade 2 hamstring strain which forced him out of the last year’s world track and field championships. De Grasse also decided to skip this year’s Commonwealth Games.

“I’m feeling good,” said De Grasse, whose girlfriend gave birth to a baby girl on Saturday. “I’m just trying to get race sharp, trying to get my top-end speed back. Its been a while.

“Running in practice and running in a meet is totally different. I’m just trying to get that race sharpness and I’ll be ready to go.”

Brown acknowledged De Grasse isn’t in top form yet.

“To beat Andre is always good,” he said. “I understand he is coming off an injury and he’s not at his best. I’m going to go back and prepare for when he is.”

Brown has enjoyed a strong season, going under 20 seconds for the first time in the 200 metres. He ran 19.98 for a second-place finish at the Bislett Games in Oslo last month.

“I haven’t run the 100 for a long time,” he said. “Today was to get my feet under me, get the rhythm of the race back and then go back to the drawing board and prepare for nationals.”

Crystal Emmanuel of Toronto won the women’s 100 metres in 11.43 seconds followed by three Chinese runners.

Canada won both the men’s and women’s 4×400-metre relays.

The women’s team of Madeline Price, Aiyanna Steering, Travia Jones and Sage Watson won in a meet record time of three minutes, 32.08 seconds. The old time of 3:36.67 was set in 2007.

The Chinese women were timed in 3:41.23.

The men’s team of Daniel Harper, Austin Cole, Tremaine Harris and Philip Osei won in 3:09.23. China was second in 3:13.08.

The China-Canada Sprint Challenge features men’s and women’s teams of 10 athletes each competing in the 100 and 400 metres, plus the 4×100 and 4×400 relays. Points are awarded and the top team takes home $30,000.

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