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Four Canadians including De Grasse, LePage withdraw from Commonwealth Games

Canadian athletes Andre De Grasse, Pierce LePage, Aaron Brown and Jerome Blake withdrew from the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday.

All four just finished up at the World Athletics Championships, where De Grasse, Brown and Blake made up three-quarters of the golden 4×100-metre relay team while LePage landed silver in decathlon.

The athletes would have faced a tight turnaround, competing at worlds in Oregon over the weekend just ahead of the Commonwealth opening ceremony on Thursday in Birmingham, England.

Athletics Canada said in a statement the decision was made with an eye to the future.

“These athletes have had a challenging world championships in hot weather conditions and unfortunately must withdraw from the 2022 Commonwealth Games to properly recover and prepare for the rest of the season.”

De Grasse, the 27-year-old from Markham, Ont., anchored the golden relay team after failing to make the 100m final and withdrawing from the 200m altogether following a battle with COVID-19.

Brown, the 30-year-old from Toronto, and Blake, the 26-year-old from Burnaby, B.C., were also part of the relay squad that secured silver at Tokyo 2020 and gold in Oregon alongside De Grasse.

For the 26-year-old LePage, of Whitby, Ont., the silver was his first major medal after placing fifth at the Olympics. Reigning Olympic decathlon champion Damian Warner pulled out midway through the event at worlds with an injury. He also won’t participate in the Commonwealth Games.

Camryn Rogers, who obtained silver in hammer throw, and Brendon Rodney, the fourth member of the relay team, are now Canada’s lone world athletics medalists competing in England. Marco Arop, who won 800m bronze, was not named to the team in the first place.

Canada is sending 272 athletes to compete in 18 sports and five Para sports at the Commonwealth Games.

The Commonwealth Games are scheduled for July 28 to August 8.

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