Eugene - Justin Gatlin clocked the fastest 100 meters of the
year to book his ticket to Rio at the US Olympic trials here Sunday as Allyson
Felix shrugged off her injury woes to power to victory in the 400m.
Gatlin won in a blistering 9.8 seconds at Hayward Field to
edge out young pretender Trayvon Bromell who was second in 9.84sec with Marvin
Bracy third in 9.98sec.
The win sends the 34-year-old 2004 Olympic champion to Rio
as the biggest threat to reigning champion Usain Bolt.
Gatlin, twice banned for doping offences during his
controversial career, had earlier signalled his readiness by setting a
season-best 9.83sec in the semi-finals.
"I was trying to get me a ticket on that boat going to
Rio," a delighted Gatlin said afterwards.
"My family has a ticket and that put pressure on me to
punch my ticket," said Gatlin, who confirmed he will not race again before
Rio after running in the 200m here this week.
Asked if he had a message for injured Jamaican rival Bolt,
Gatlin smiled and gave a thumbs up. "I don't know how you print this --
but you can print that. Emoji thumb," he joked.
- 'Greatest ever' Felix -
Gatlin's season-best time was matched in the women's 400m by
Felix, who kept her dream of an Olympic 400-200 double alive with a gutsy
victory hailed by her coach Bob Kersee as her best ever.
Felix, who has been hampered by an ankle injury following a
freak training accident in April, surged home down the stretch to win in
49.68sec, the fastest time in the world this year.
Also read: Gatlin says he's closing in on Bolt ahead of Rio
The 30-year-old from Los Angeles is aiming to become only
the third woman after Valerie Brisco-Hooks of the US in 1984 and Marie-Jose
Perec of France in 1996 to have won the 200m and 400m in the same Games.
"I don't even think I can put it into words," said
Felix. "Two months ago I couldn't even walk so to be here and still have
everything come together I don't know it happened.
"I just know that I had an amazing team of people that
didn't let me face it alone."
Felix had been in fifth coming off the final curve before
finding an extra gear to pull away.
"I didn't even know where I was I just gave it
everything I had," said Felix, the reigning Olympic 200m champion and 400m
Asked to comment on Kersee's comment that the win was her
greatest performance, Felix smiled and commented: "Well, I trust
- Merritt marker -
Elsewhere Sunday, English Gardner won the women's 100m in
10.74sec ahead of Tianna Bartoletta in second and Tori Bowie in third.
There was another season best in the men's 400m, where
LaShawn Merritt suggested he is ready to reclaim the Olympic crown he won in
the 2008 Beijing Games with victory in 43.97sec.
Merritt, whose career was derailed by a string of failed
dope tests in 2010 which led to a 21-month ban, has now clocked the fastest
times in the world over both 400m and 200m this season.
The 30-year-old produced a devastating finish to accelerate
clear of Gil Roberts and David Verburg in the final stretch.
"I worked the last 50 a little bit more than I did in
the previous rounds," he said. "I still feel like I had a little bit
left so I'm pleased about it."
In other events on Sunday, double Olympic decathlon champion
Ashton Eaton confirmed his place in Rio by completing a straightforward victory
in the multi-event discipline.
Eaton finished with 8,750 points, well clear of Jeremy Taiwo
with 8,425 and Zach Ziemek in third.
In the women's high jump, teenage pretender Vashti
Cunningham -- the daughter of legendary Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Randall
Cunningham -- confirmed her Olympic ticket with a second place finish behind
"To be able to go to the Olympics, I'm more happy than
disappointed about finishing second," said Cunningham, who cleared 1.97
meters, behind Lowe who jumped 2.01.
"I always want to win, but this is something that will
hit me on the head and make me work harder. I've got more motivation for
Rio," Cunningham added.For
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