AFP/ Eugene, United States
Sha’Carri Richardson crashed out of the 100m heats at the US athletics World Championship trials on Thursday as Olympic silver medallist Fred Kerley made a statement in the men’s first round. Richardson’s failure was the biggest surprise on the opening day of the US outdoor championships, the selection meeting for the World Championships to be held at the same Hayward Field venue in Eugene in July.
She had clocked 10.85sec in a runner-up finish in New York two weeks ago. But the outspoken sprint sensation was slow out of the blocks and never a factor in her heat, finishing fifth in 11.31sec – 23rd quickest overall. That leaves her looking to the weekend’s 200m for another chance at a top-three finish needed to make the team.
It’s another setback for Richardson, who sprinted to victory at last year’s US Olympic trials in a wind-aided 10.64 but saw her dream of an Olympic medal in Tokyo end after a suspension for testing positive for marijuana use. Richardson’s close friend Aleia Hobbs led the way into the 100m semi-finals, winning her heat in 10.88sec. Terry Twanisha was the second-fastest qualifier, winning her heat in 10.92.
In the men’s 100m heats, Kerley posted the fastest time in the world this year of 9.83sec. He took control early in a heat run in a legal wind of 1.5m/sec, with Cravont Charleston a distant second in 10.07. Kerley’s time improved on the 9.85sec that Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya posted in Nairobi on May 7.
Reigning world champion Christian Coleman made it through, winning his heat in 10.08sec. Coleman, 26, has a bye for the worlds as the 2019 champion. But even with his berth assured he said he plans to run every round at trials as he continues to return to peak form after serving an 18-month suspension for missing multiple drug testing appointments. Three finals were on the slate, with Quanesha Burks winning the women’s long jump with a leap of 7.06m. Jasmine Moore was second at 6.80 and Tiffany Flynn third at 6.69m. Brooke Andersen won the women’s hammer with a throw of 77.96m. Reigning world champion DeAnna Price was fourth with a throw of 73.07. Andrew Evans won the men’s discus with a throw of 63.31.
In other events World record-holder and Olympic champion Sydney McLaughlin led the way in the women’s 400m hurdles first round, winning her heat in 54.11sec.
The week won’t produce another showdown between McLaughlin and reigning world champion Dalilah Muhammad, who received a waiver to skip the trials because of a hamstring injury but still expects to exercise her bye for the worlds.
McLaughlin said she was looking forward to renewing the rivalry then, but in the meantime she was pleased with her performance even though it didn’t approach the world-leading 51.61 she has posted this year. “That was a really good race just to see kind of where my fitness was at because I hadn’t raced in two weeks,” she said.
Reigning world champion Donavan Brazier and Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Athing Mu eased through the first round of the men’s and women’s 800s. Seven-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix kept her bid for a World Championships swansong on track, winning her 400m heat in 52.30 to advance in a field led by the 51.05 of Jaide Stepter. Michael Norman, owner of the fastest 400m time in the world this year of 43.60 led the men’s heats in 44.72.
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