Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Kenya

Kerley throws down World Championship challenge in 100m win at US trials

Eugene, United States

Fred Kerley clocked a world-leading 9.76sec in the semi-finals then followed up with a 9.77 to win the 100m at the US trials on Friday and stamp himself a favorite for the World Championships next month.

The Tokyo Olympics silver medallist set a tone for the final and didn’t disappoint.

Although he didn’t get off to as strong of a start, he powered through the middle section of the race to seize control and finish ahead of Marvin Bracy Williams and Trayvon Bromell.

“My top-end got me to the finish line today,” said Kerley, who added that he’d been “expecting something faster.”

Williams clocked a career-best 9.85sec and Bromell grabbed a World Championships berth in 9.88.

Reigning world champion Christian Coleman was missing from the final. He was a late scratch after finishing with the fourth-fastest time in the semi-finals.

His semi-final time tied him for sixth-fastest all-time in the 100m — with Bromell and Coleman.

Among Americans, only Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin have run faster — but not on US soil.

Kerley, who took 100m silver at the Tokyo Olympics behind Italian Lamont Marcell Jacobs, made it clear he was aiming to go higher on the all-time list, right to the top.

“Whenever I can get to Usain Bolt’s record, that’s what I’m aiming for,” he said.

Coleman’s 2019 world title gives him a bye into the World Championships, to be held on the same Hayward Field track in July.

He had said he planned to run every round as he continues his return to peak form after serving an 18-month suspension for missing drug testing appointments.

But an hour and a half after the semi-finals, he was a no-show at the starting line for the final.

The women’s 100m final was also missing an expected star after Sha’Carri Richardson’s shock exit in the heats on Thursday.

‘Kind of like wow’

Melissa Jefferson was the surprise winner in an impressive albeit wind-aided career-best of 10.69sec with Aleia Hobbs second in 10.72 and Twanisha Terry third in 10.74.

“It’s kind of like, wow, did that really just happen,” Jefferson said of making her first World Championships team.

She said “Wow” was her first response when she saw the time, then she saw the wind gauge reading of 2.9m/sec – above the legal limit of 2.0m/sec.

Even so, she said the time showed her “that I can do it.”

It was a bounce-back performance for the 21-year-old, who finished eighth in the 100m at the NCAA collegiate championships earlier this month after winning the 60m at the NCAA Indoor championships in March.

World record holder and two-time Olympic gold medallist Ryan Crouser improved his own world leading performance in the shot put with a throw of 23.12m, with reigning world champion Joe Kovacs second at 22.87.

Sandi Morris, a two-time indoor world champion and twice runner-up at the outdoor worlds, won the women’s pole vault with a height of 4.82m — improving her own previous world leading mark of 4.81.

Vashti Cunningham won the women’s high jump with a jump of 1.93m and Tokyo Olympics gold medallist  Valarie Allman won the women’s discus with a throw of 66.92m.

Seven-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix made it into the 400m final to keep alive the chance of at least a relay berth at a one last World Championships before she retires.

Felix’s time of 51.32 was the seventh-fastest in the semi-finals, with Talitha Diggs leading the way into the final with a time of 50.88.

“I just wanted to squeak into that final and just be ready (for relay duty) if they need me,” Felix said.

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