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Andre De Grasse cruises into Olympic 100m semifinal with season-best time

Last Updated Jul 31, 2021 at 10:38 am MDT

Andre De Grasse is on to the semifinal of the men’s 100-metre race in the Tokyo Olympic Games.

De Grasse posted a Heat 5 best time of 9.91 on Saturday to earn a spot in the next round, scheduled for Sunday. His time was just 0.01 off his personal best set at the 2019 world championships.

The Canadian record of 9.84 is shared by Olympic champion Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin.

With the retirement of Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt, there will be a new Olympic champion crowned in Tokyo.

The 26-year-old Markham, Ont., native is looking for his fourth-career Olympic medal. He earned bronze in the 100-metre race in Rio, as well as in the men’s 4×100 relay. De Grasse also won silver in the men’s 200-metre event in 2016.

Bismark Boateng of Toronto and Gavin Smellie of Brampton, Ont., both failed to advance out of their respective heats.

RELATED: Canadian Kylie Masse wins second silver medal of Tokyo Games in 200 metre backstroke

RELATED: Daily Recap: Canada’s results at the Tokyo Olympics 2020

Overall, Canada has 12 medals at the halfway point of the Games (three gold, four silver, five bronze), good for 12th place in the medal table and in total medals.

China led the medal table with 21 gold, four more than host Japan, and was tied with the United States at 46 medals overall.

Swimmer Kylie Masse was Canada’s only medal winner on Saturday, touching the wall just behind Australian star swimmer Kaylee McKeown in the women’s 200-metre backstroke.

Masse’s second silver was the fifth medal produced by the Canadian women’s swim team in Tokyo. A sixth on Sunday in the medley relay would match the team’s output at the 2016 Games in Rio.

While Masse’s day may have been more “fun” and less “painful,” the same can’t be said for diver Pamela Ware.

Ware, 28, from Greenfield Park, Que., impressed in the preliminary round of the women’s three-metre springboard, qualifying in fourth place – a position she maintained through the first three rounds of Saturday’s semifinal.

Things started to go wrong for Ware in Round 4, when a lacklustre dive put her in ninth place – still comfortably in the top 12 that would qualify for Sunday’s final, if she could regain her form in the fifth and final round.

Instead, disaster struck: Ware stumbled on her approach and hesitated coming off the board, abandoning her dive before it started and dropping, feet first, into the water. The result was a failed dive, a score of zero, and a last-place finish.

Ware’s teammate, Jennifer Abel of Laval, Que., was more successful, finishing an impressive third in the semis to book her ticket to the final, where she’ll be looking for her first career medal in a solo event.

Abel, 29, earned a silver medal a week ago in the three-metre synchronized springboard event with partner Melissa Citrini-Beaulieu. She and former partner Emilie Heymans earned a bronze in the same event in London in 2012.

In track and field, Marco Arop led wire to wire to win his heat of the 800 metres on Saturday and move onto the semifinals.

The 22-year-old from Edmonton looked relaxed en route to a time of one minute 45.26 seconds.

Arop’s teammate Brandon McBride didn’t qualify for the semis, finishing sixth in his heat in a time of 1:46.32.

In weightlifting, Canada’s Boady Santavy lifted a combined 386 kilograms to take fourth on Saturday in the 96-kilogram weight class at the Tokyo Olympics.

Qatar’s Fares El-Bakh set an Olympic record with a clean and jerk of 225 kilograms on his second attempt to clinch gold with a total of 402. Venezuela’s Keydomar Vallenilla Sanchez and Georgia’s Anton Pliesnoi took silver and bronze as both lifted a total of 387 kilograms.

Santavy, from Sarnia, Ont., lifted a finals-best 178 kilos in the snatch before making a 208-kilo lift in the clean and jerk.

For boxer Tammara Thibeault, it was always going to be a tall order to defeat her experienced opponent, Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands, in the women’s middleweight quarterfinal.

Fontijn, the silver medallist in 2016 in Rio, ended the 24-year-old Thibeault’s Olympic dream by unanimous decision after a close fight.