Loss of injured Andre De Grasse is a big blow to Canadian track and field fans

Andre De Grasse’s coach says the star sprinter’s withdrawal from the world track and field championships isn’t only a personal blow for De Grasse, but for Canadian fans too.

The 22-year-old from Markham, Ont., was to race Jamaican star Usain Bolt one last time in the world 100 metres and was a solid shot to capture gold in the 200 metres.

Coach Stuart McMillan says when De Grasse sees the sprinters lining up for the final “it’s really going to hit home” that he’s not there.

The 100 metre heats are scheduled for Friday night, and the final on Saturday.

De Grasse suffered a Grade 2 tear of his hamstring in a training session on Monday night. He flew to Munich to meet with Dr. Muller Wolfhart, who made the final diagnosis.

The recovery is expected to take five to six weeks.

There had been plenty of hype around Bolt versus De Grasse at the world championships, which McMillan said has been wearing on the young Canadian sprinter.

“(But) in retrospect in a few weeks, when he looks back on this, this was his last opportunity to beat Bolt, I think that’s probably going to be the thing that haunts him the most,” McMillan said.

The loss of De Grasse is a big blow to Canada’s 4×100-metre relay team, which captured a bronze medal at last summer’s Rio Olympics.

McMillan compared it to removing Donovan Bailey or Bruny Surin from the relay team that won gold at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

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