Felix, Gatlin storm to wins in US trials, secure Rio berths

EUGENE (Oregon) • Allyson Felix and Justin Gatlin powered to the fastest times in the world this year to book their tickets for the Rio Olympics at the high-standard US athletics trials on Sunday.

World champion Felix shook off an ailing ankle to win the women's 400 metres in 49.68 seconds before Gatlin claimed the 100 metres over fellow world medallist Trayvon Bromell in 9.80 seconds.

World-leading performances were also recorded in the men's 400m and long jump, women's high jump and decathlon.

Felix, still running in pain from the April injury, kept alive her dream of becoming only the third woman to complete a 200m-400m double at the same Olympics. She starts the 200m trials on Friday.

"Two months ago I couldn't even walk," the Olympic 200m champion said after securing her spot at a fourth Olympics.

Her coach Bob Kersee claimed the victory was the 30-year-old's greatest performance.

"I just gave it everything I had," added Felix, who is her country's most decorated female sprinter.

"Things were hitting me right and left but giving up wasn't an option."

Gatlin, 34, was pushed all the way by a fast-starting Bromell before the 2004 Olympic gold medallist finished the stronger.

"This year I have had little knocks and bruises - ankles, quads, hamstrings, but at the end of the day when the competition shows and rises, I have got to rise with it," Gatlin said.

Marvin Bracy (9.98) grabbed the third spot as veterans Mike Rodgers and Tyson Gay took fourth and fifth to miss out on the 100m team for the Aug 5-21 Games.

English Gardner claimed the women's title in 10.74 with Tianna Bartoletta and Tori Bowie both clocking 10.78 to also advance.

LaShawn Merritt powered away from the field in the final 50 metres to win the men's 400m in the year's best time of 43.97.

The decathlon title went to Ashton Eaton, whose winning total of 8,750 points is superior to the personal bests of any of his rivals destined for Rio.

Chaunte Lowe, the 32-year-old mother of three, made her fourth Olympic team in the high jump, outperforming rising world indoor champion Vashti Cunningham.

Lowe cleared 2.01m, the first two-metre jump of the year, with Cunningham leaping 1.97 to also qualify for the Games.

Jeff Henderson outduelled recent collegiate champion Jarrion Lawson for the long jump title, leaping a wind-assisted 8.59m to beat Lawson by one centimetre with the runner-up registering the best legal mark of the season.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2016, with the headline 'Felix, Gatlin storm to wins in US trials, secure Rio berths'. Print Edition | Subscribe