The 1996 Olympic 100m champion Donovan Bailey believes fellow Canadian Andre DeGrasse will be under tremendous pressure to perform at the IAAF World Championships of Athletics in Doha later this month, but he expects him to deliver.
DeGrasse was third in the 200m at the season-ending Diamond League meeting in Brussels on Friday. He clocked a season-best 19.87s finishing behind Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev [19.86], the 2017 world champion, and Noah Lyles of the United States who ran 19.74 for the win.
It was DeGrasse’s fastest time since he ran 19.80 in Brazil in 2016, less than a year after he signed a US$11m contract with Puma in 2015.
Doyle Management, De Grasse’s agent said the multi-year deal with Puma was worth $11.25 million US. With bonuses that could see the Canadian earn as much as $30 million.
Injuries and illness have hampered DeGrasse’s progress and the Jamaican-born Bailey believes given the time that has elapsed since he signed that massive deal, the 25-year-old sprinter will be under the weight of Canadian expectation.
“Andre is under immense pressure to deliver on Doha,” said Bailey, said the Jamaican-born former 100m world record holder.
“When he was third to Usain [in Rio 2016], Usain actually anointed him the next great. He has had a couple of bad years and has allowed a couple of people to come in and knock him down a couple of notches, so he is under immense pressure to deliver.”
However, Bailey, the 1995 100m world champion, is of the view that DeGrasse has shown this year that he is getting close to being back to his best in time for the championships that run from September 28 to October 6.
In addition to Friday’s 19.87, DeGrasse ran 9.97s he ran in Berlin five days ago, suggesting that he is perhaps in his best form in years.
“Andre is in a very good position right now. He started out the year pretty good and he is ending it even better. He is peaking at the right time and I believe that he is setting himself up to challenge to be on the podium in Doha,” said Bailey who will be an analyst for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for the world championships.
“I am pretty happy with how his progress has been.”
Source: Leighton Levy