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Kerley storms from the 100m heats, Felix and the United States in bronze in the mixed 4x400m at the Eugene Worlds

In front of almost full stands at Hayward Field, the first evening of these Worlds in Eugene was marked by the very high level performance of Fred Kerley during the 100m heats. The American, owner of the best world performance of the year in 9”77, was very impressive by winning in 9”79 (wind: + 0.1 m/s), the fastest time in the history of the series of a major Championship.

He is more than ever the favorite for the world title, and was even faster in the mixed zone, with a “no questions today”. Trayvon Bromell, winner of his series in 9”89 (+ 0.6 m/s) also seemed very fit, while world champion Christian Coleman did not force, clearly cutting his effort before the line to win in his series in 10”08 (+0.5 m/s) ahead of the Canadian Andre de Grasse (10”12).

We were also eager to see Italian Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs at work, penalized for several weeks by a strained left thigh. Second in his series in 10”04 behind the Jamaican Oblique Seville, winner in 9”93 (+ 0.2 m/s), he did not give off a great visual impression, seeming embarrassed. “I had to fight, I’m not 100%, but I gave everything I had, explained Jacobs, warned for arriving late in the appeal room. I will go to treatment to be ready for the semi-finals on Saturday. »

Note also the junior world record of Batswana Letsile Tebogo (19), who won his series in 9”94 (+1.1 m/s) ahead of Jamaican Yohan Blake (10”04). And the relief for the African record holder, the Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala. Faced with very great difficulties to have his visa for the United States in time, he left his country only Thursday, and arrived in Eugene barely three hours before his series. Third in his series in 10”10 won by the Japanese Abdul Hakim Sani Brown in 9”98 (-0.3 m/s), we will see him well in the semi-finals. But in what physical condition? “A lot of people talk about me, but I want to focus on my races and not on what happens outside, Omanyala said. I feel tired. Even though I didn’t make it past that lap, the drive to Eugene was worth it. »

Bronze farewell for Allyson Felix

Allyson Felix (36) is living his last year on the circuit, and had the opportunity to win a fourteenth world title on Friday, with the American mixed 4x400m. Wildly encouraged when she took the baton in second, the Californian will have to settle for bronze, her 19th medal at the Worlds, since success went to the Dominican Republic, ahead of the Netherlands of Femke Bol and therefore the United States. The stadium was already almost empty when Felix took the time to wave to the crowd with his teammates, American flag on his shoulders.

Allyson Felix after the mixed 4x400m final. (F. Faugère/The Team)

Three out of three for the French

On the French side, over 3,000 m steeplechase, Mehdi Belhadj (27) qualified for the final, finishing 4th in his series in 8’20”47, a sufficient time to pass the time. Successful bet for the Ile-de-France, who is playing his first major International Championship in Oregon. In the final, on the night of Monday to Tuesday (4:20 a.m.), he will notably be opposed to the Moroccan Olympic champion from Tokyo Soufiane El Bakkali, his runner-up in Japan, the Ethiopian Lamecha Girma, and the Kenyan Conseslus Kipruto, crowned in Rio in 2016.

Mission also accomplished in the pole vault for Margot Chevrier and Ninon Chapelle, both qualified for the final, passing 4.50 m, the first cited on her third try. There will be 15 athletes in the final instead of 12. But not the Canadian Alysha Newman, eliminated with 4.35 m. Neither the Briton Holly Bradshaw, bronze medalist in Tokyo, who broke a pole during warm-up when she fell into the stopper, hurt her hip and could not defend her chances.

Gong and Crouser in Weight Control

In the women’s 1,500m series, the headliners of Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay, Kenyan Faith Kipyegon and Britain’s Laura Muir passed without fear. No damage to the length either for the favorites, but the 2019 world champion, Jamaican Tajay Gayle, bit his three tries, visibly not recovered from his bone contusion.

The women’s shot put qualifiers were no surprises either, and were dominated by two-time world and Olympic champion China’s Lijiao Gong with a throw of 19.51m. On the men’s side, still just as easy, the American Olympic champion and world record holder Ryan Crouser did not delay to score his ticket for the final, with 22.28 m on his first throw. He will find there his usual rivals, his compatriot Joe Kovacs (21.50 m), the New Zealander Tom Walsh (21.44 m) as well as the Brazilian Darlan Romani (20.98 m).

Japanese double in the 20 km walk

Earlier in the day, we were entitled to a Japanese double on the 20 km walk, disputed under strong heat on a loop of one kilometer to be repeated quite logically twenty times. Already crowned in Doha in 2019 and bronze medalist in Tokyo last year, Toshikazu Yamanishi (26) retained his world title, signing a time of 1h19’7”, ahead of his compatriot and Olympic vice-champion Koki Ikeda (+7”), which he dropped in the last kilometer. The Swede Perseus Karlström took third place (+11”).

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