Olympic star ‘pretty spe­cial’

Nor­folk’s Hen­riques meets De Grasse at train­ing ses­sion

Simcoe Reformer - - SPORTS - JA­COB RO BINSON jrobin­son@post­media.com

Nor­folk’s Daunte Hen­riques got to meet a hero on Mon­day night when Olympian An­dre De Grasse showed up to train with the Hamil­ton Olympic Club.

De Grasse took time to sign au­to­graphs and an­swer ques­tions from the coun­try’s fu­ture track stars at the cam­pus of McMaster Univer­sity.

“I look for­ward to prac­tice — some­times not so much, other times more – it re­ally de­pends on the day and how I’m feel­ing,” said Hen­riques, 16, who has been a part of Hamil­ton club for the page few years.

But Mon­day’s train­ing ses­sion was spe­cial, he said.

“It was some­thing new and ob­vi­ously re­ally ex­cit­ing to meet some­body at that level and talk to him about what he wants to do and how his train­ing is go­ing.”

Hen­riques is com­ing off help­ing the the Hamil­ton club take silver in the youth di­vi­sion 4x100m re­lay at the 2017 Na­tional Le­gion Track and Field Cham­pi­onships in Man­i­toba, while De Grasse was thrust into the spot­light while win­ning a silver (200m) and bronze (100m) at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“Some of the other ath­letes met him at the na­tional meet a cou­ple months ago but oth­ers that hadn’t,” said Hen­riques, a Delhi Dis­trict Sec­ondary School stu­dent.

“It was ex­cit­ing and pretty spe­cial to them be­cause they’re meet- ing an Olympic ath­lete.”

Hen­riques said he was sur­prised by the stature of the 22-year-old De Grasse, who many ex­pect to take over the ti­tle of “fastest man in the world” in the wake of Usain Bolt’s re­tire­ment ear­lier this year. He stands 5-foot-9.

“I thought he was a lit­tle bit taller,” Hen­riques ex­plained.

“His warmup kind of sur­prised me (too), I thought it would be more than what it was but I mean, it works for him. You find what works for you and you do what works for you.”

Hen­riques al­ready owns a dec­o­rated re­sume, in­clud­ing two straight ap­pear­ances at the On­tario Fed­er­a­tion of School Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion cham­pi­onships. Meet­ing De Grasse is mo­ti­vat­ing Hen­riques to get faster.

“Now that I’ve met him it makes me want to push my hard­est so I can be at that level where I’ll be able to race against him and do my best,” he said.

Hen­riques got De Grasse to sign his run­ning spikes in hopes of shav­ing a few sec­onds off his fastest times.

“I dunno, I mean, I’ve got an Olympic run­ner’s sig­na­ture on them, maybe it will,” he said. “You never know.”

De Grasse ap­peared to have as much fun at the train­ing ses­sion as club mem­bers did.

Af­ter­wards, he took to Twit­ter to thank the or­ga­ni­za­tion for its hos­pi­tal­ity.

“Great work­out with the @ HamO­lympicClub last night,” he wrote. “Keep work­ing hard ev­ery­one!”

Sub­mited Photo

Vanessa na­tive Daunte Hen­riques (right), poses for a photo with Cana­dian Olympian An­dre De Grasse (cen­tre and fel­low Hamil­ton Olympic Club sprinter Randy Tshikuna. De Grasse at­tended the or­ga­ni­za­tion's train­ing ses­sion on Mon­day night.

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