New mum Felix set on getting to Tokyo

DES MOINES (Iowa) • The fire is still there for Allyson Felix and so is the dream.

America's most decorated track and field athlete - she has won six Olympic gold medals - may have missed out on a spot on the podium on Saturday night at the United States national championships, but the quest to take part in the Tokyo Games next year goes on.

Calling her return to competition for the first time in 13 months after having a daughter in November a stepping stone, she said: "I want to be back in the Olympics. I want that more than anything. I want to go out on my terms.

"A little sacrifice here and there, and it will be worth it."

Her best time, 51.45 seconds in the 400m semi-finals, was two seconds slower than her personal best of 49.26 in 2015 and she came in sixth in the final in 51.94 to miss out on an individual national team spot for the first time in her 16-year career as a professional .

Yet Felix, 33, who failed to get automatic selection for the 400m at September's world championships in Doha, Qatar, insisted she had found a new spark.

GAMES TARGET

I want to be back in the Olympics. I want that more than anything. I want to go out on my terms.

ALLYSON FELIX, American sprinter, on her return to competition at the age of 33.

"Being in this environment and being back in a final, it got the juices flowing," she said.

"It's going to be a lot easier going into next year and getting a full year of training.

"I'm grateful more than anything, it would be crazy for me to say that I was disappointed. I have my health, my family, I couldn't ask for more than that. I'm still able to do the thing that I love."

This year's work is also far from done with a potential spot on the 4x400m relay team at the world championships to fight for.

"Bobby (Kersee, her long-time coach) still has some training for me. I don't think he is done with me yet," she said.

"We want to get in a position to train. I might race a little bit more. If I feel like I'm in, you know, good form to be able to help the team, yes (I) would accept a spot. If I'm not, I'll be a cheerleader."

But with or without the relay, this year is about what Felix called the "big goal" - the 2020 Olympics.

"This gave me a taste," she added. "The fire is there. I will be back next year."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 29, 2019, with the headline 'New mum Felix set on getting to Tokyo'. Print Edition | Subscribe