Eugene (United States) (AFP) – 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.
Kerley’s semi-final run, with a legal wind of 1.4m/sec, came a day after he posted a 2022 season-leading 9.83 in the heats.
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.
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.
“Just all about patience and training,” said Kerley, who took silver at the Tokyo Olympics behind Italian Lamont Marcell Jacobs.
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.
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.
Melissa Jefferson was the surprise winner in an impressive career-best of 10.69sec with Aleia Hobbs second in 10.72 and Twanisha Terry third in 10.74.
It was a bounce-back performance for the third-year college student, 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.
All of the top three finishers booked their first individual World Championships team berths.