(Reuters) -Trayvon Bromell kept his stellar year going to win the men’s 100 metres at the U.S. Olympic trials on Sunday, securing his ticket to Tokyo, as superstar Allyson Felix booked an age-defying fifth trip to the Olympic Games.
The world leader Bromell entered Eugene, Oregon, this week amid enormous expectations and did not disappoint, scorching the track in 9.80 seconds five years after a brutal injury at the Rio Games that cast his very career into jeopardy.
“God is real – that’s my only answer,” Bromell told a television reporter after the race inside the newly renovated Hayward Field.
Ronnie Baker, 27, and 26-year-old Fred Kerley finished second and third, respectively, with personal bests of 9.85 seconds and 9.86.
The trio will look to fill the void left behind by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, who retired in 2017 with eight Olympic golds as the world’s most famous and beloved sprinter.
The evening spelled disappointment for 39-year-old Justin Gatlin, who had hoped to reach his fourth Games but appeared to struggle with leg pain and finished last, as well as 23-year-old Noah Lyles, who finished seventh and will now turn his focus to the 200m, the event in which he won the world championship in 2019.
Felix finished second in the 400 metres at the U.S. trials in 50.02 seconds to claim her spot for the Summer Games, extending a glittering career with nine Olympic medals already in her coffers.
With her 2-1/2-year-old daughter, Camryn, watching from the stands, Felix once again showed why she is the most decorated female track athlete in American history, exploding off the blocks and fending off a stacked field.
“It has been a fight to get here and one thing I know how to do is fight,” Felix said after the race. “To make the fifth one – so special.”
Her chance of competing in Tokyo appeared in doubt as she trailed going into the final 50 metres, but she kicked into high gear and fought to the finish line, before rolling onto her back and kicking her legs in the air in celebration.
Felix, who picked up a record 13th gold at the 2019 World Championships, will be joined in Tokyo by Quanera Hayes, who won in 49.78, and Wadeline Jonathas, who finished third in 50.03.
Felix’s daughter and Hayes’ son came onto the track after the race, where they shared a brief hug near their “super mommies” – as Hayes put it.
Elsewhere in the day’s action, American record-holder Keturah Orji had a leading leap of 14.52 metres in the triple jump, while 2016 Olympian Rudy Winkler threw for 82.71 metres and the American record in the hammer throw to win the U.S. trials for a second time in a row.
Emma Coburn, the 2016 bronze medalist in the 3000-metre steeplechase, was headed to Thursday’s final in the event after putting up a leading time of 9:21.32 in the opening round.
And 2016 gold medalist in the 100m hurdles Brianna McNeal finished second in 12.51 – though her spot in Tokyo hinges on the outcome of her appeal over a five-year ban for an anti-doping rule violation.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery, Additional reporting by Gene Cherry; Editing by Richard Pullin and Jacqueline Wong)