De Grasse edges Su in pro debut at Millrose

New York (AFP) –


Canada's Andre De Grasse edged China's Su Bingtian to win the men's 60 meters in his professional debut Saturday at the 109th Millrose Games indoor track meet while US sprinter Allyson Felix breezed to victory.

De Grasse captured the crown in 6.61 seconds, .01 off his personal best set last year when he ran for the University of Southern California, with Su second in 6.62 and Jamaican Kimmari Roach third in 6.63.

De Grasse took bronze medals in the 100 and 4x100 relay at last year's world championships after winning 100 and 200 Pan American Games titles on home soil. The 21-year-old signed a multi-million-dollar endorsement deal last December.

Slow off the blocks, De Grasse produced a strong finishing surge and outleaned his 100m world finals rival Su at the line for the victory.

"That's the best part of my race," said De Grasse of his close. "I've got to work on my start and transition phase. I've got to go back to the drawing board."

Felix, the reigning Olympic 200 champion and world 400 champion looking at a double in the events at the Rio Olympics, won the women's 60 in 7.15, .05 ahead of compatriot Tianna Bartoletta.

"We're in the heavy part of training so this is fun," Felix said of her only planned indoor run this year. "I just wanted to break up training a little bit, have some fun. It's going to be a long year."

While saying her focus is "clearly on making the team," Felix called the Olympic double bid "a great challenge and I'm looking forward to it."

Omar McLeod, the reigning Jamaican and US college 110 hurdles champion, won the 60 hurdles in 7.46 with American Ashton Eaton, the reigning world and Olympic decathlon champion, second in 7.53.

Grenada's Bralon Taplin won the 400 in 45.35, the fastest time in the world this year, with Trinidad and Tobago's Lalonde Gordon second in 45.51.

"I'm not happy with the time. I wanted to go 44. But I'll get it next time," said Taplin, a training partner of countryman Kirani James, the reigning Olympic 400 champion. "Me and Kirani are expecting to do big things in the 400."

Also winning with a 2016 world best was American Ajee Wilson, who took the women's 800 in 2:00.09.

American Matthew Centrowitz, twice on the world podium at 1,500m, won the men's mile in 3:50.63 with New Zealand's Nick Willis, the 2008 Beijing Olympic runner-up, second in 3:51.06 and Britain's Chris O'Hare third in 3:52.91.

American Erik Kynard, the 2012 Olympic high jump runner-up, won his specialty by clearing 2.20m while Australian Mitchell Watt, the 2012 Olympic long jump runner-up, settled for second behind American Marquis Dendy, who leaped 8.13m to Watt's 7.86.

Kenya's Betsy Saina won the women's 5,000 in 14:57.18, beating Molly Huddle by .13 of a second, while Greece's Katerina Stefanidi cleared 4.90m to win the women's pole vault.