Andre De Grasse

LONDON — Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse, the man many were backing to beat Usain Bolt in London, has been forced to withdraw from the upcoming IAAF World Championships due to a hamstring.

De Grasse, the Olympic 100m bronze medallist and 200m silver medal winner from Rio 2016, is one of the promising sprinters around and many were backing him to end Bolt’s reign at the top.

However, the 22-year-old suffered a torn hamstring on Monday during a training session, a release from Athletics Canada said.

A second scan on Wednesday confirmed the diagnosis which led to the final decision.

“The entire year this 100m race in London was my focus,” the young sprinter who won double bronze at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, said.

“I am really in the best shape of my life and was looking forward to competing against the best in the world.

“To not have this opportunity is unimaginable to me but it is the reality I am faced with. I am sad to miss this chance but I am young and will be back and better than ever in the near future.”

De Grasse was also disappointed about having to miss a final showdown with Bolt but he vows to return “stronger and faster.”

“Earlier this week in practice, I suffered a hamstring tear that has forced me to withdraw from the World Championships,” De Grasse said in a statement on his Facebook page.

“Injuries are a part of the sport, and the timing of this one is especially unfortunate.

“While I’m in the best shape of my life and extremely disappointed that I will not have the chance to compete for my country in London, I can’t forget or be ungrateful for the successes that I’ve been blessed with up to this point in my career.”

He added: “Thank you to my family, friends and fans that have supported me all the way….. I’ll be back stronger and faster than ever.

“But for now, Canada still has a very strong team at the World Championships. They are preparing to take on the world, and the focus should be on them.”

Athletics Canada head coach Glenroy Gilbert said: “I really feel for Andre, I know he really wanted to make a mark here at the World Championships.

“Injuries are part of the sport, obviously, the timing is terrible. As a team the focus doesn’t change, we need to be ready to compete starting Friday.

“We’ve been talking about the depth of the program, now is a chance for some of our other stars to shine, and have some of our up and coming athletes step up.”

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