Coleman back on track at US trials


Sacramento (AFP)

Christian Coleman recovered from his surprise defeat against Justin Gatlin to ease through to the 200m semi-finals at the US World Championship trials on Saturday.

The 21-year-old rising star of American sprinting, stunned by veteran Gatlin in the 100m final on Friday, coasted into the next round of the 200m in 20.34sec at Sacramento's Hornet Stadium.

Coleman, the fastest man in the world over 100m this year, was never threatened in his heat, pulling clear to finish ahead of another veteran, Tyson Gay. Gatlin had been entered in the 200m but scratched from his heat.

"As a competitor it was slightly disappointing because you want to come out with a win every time," Coleman said of his upset loss to Gatlin on Friday.

"But, ultimately, I was happy to make it to the team because that was my goal."

The 200m also saw LaShawn Merritt confirm his fitness with a time of 20.74.

Merritt, who is already qualified for the August World Championships by virtue of winning the 400m Diamond League crown last season, said he will skip the remaining rounds of the 200m.

"I just needed to run something, show fitness," the 2008 Olympic 400m champion said, adding that he had abandoned plans to attempt a 200m-400m double in London.

"I was thinking about doubling early in the season but I thought I'd just stick to the 400," he said. "I just want to focus on that and attack that. That's the plan -- just stick to that."

In other action early Saturday, 2012 Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix eased through her 200m heat.

Felix, a six-time Olympic gold medalist, won her heat in 22.95. The 31-year-old, who has a bye into the World Championships following her 2015 400m gold medal, plans to only run the one-lap event in London.

In the men's 110m hurdles, 2012 Olympic champion Aries Merritt sailed into the semi-finals as the fastest qualifier, winning his heat in 13.41.

Merritt, 31, told AFP he is now fully recovered from the after-effects of his 2015 kidney transplant and a groin injury last season that scuppered his bid to make the Olympic team.

"It has been a few years since I felt as good as this," Merritt said.

"Now everything is completely different. I'm able to move my limbs properly. I'm able to stretch and hit the positions that I need to hit."