Kerley charges to glory as host sweeps up

Fred Kerley led the charge as the US enjoyed its first sweep of the men’s 100 meters final in 31 years at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.,”We said we were going to do it and we did it,” Kerley said in the on-track interview.,Kerley powered through the line to finish in 9.86 seconds and beat both Marvin Bracy and the 2021 US champion, Trayvon Bromell, by less than 0.02 seconds. The difference between second and third was 0.002.,It marked the first American sweep at the worlds since Carl Lewis, Leroy Burrell and Dennis Mitchell went gold-silver-bronze at the 1991 championships in Tokyo.,”It’s amazing,” said Burrell. “And honestly, I wouldn’t have expected less from the group. This is one of the best groups of US sprinters we’ve had in years.”,The race brought back memories of times when the US dominated the track game in the same way Jamaica and Usain Bolt did for nearly a decade starting in 2008.,Back in those days, Lewis was a star and Burrell and a few others certainly filled the stands. That was also an era marred by doping.,This one felt more like a bunch of comeback stories and “I told you so’s.”,Kerley, a 27-year-old Texan, came into Eugene as the favorite-the only sprinter to crack 9.8 seconds this year. His reward is a title in an event he didn’t start investing time in until the lead-up to last year’s Olympics.,In an interview on former US sprinter Rae Edwards’ webcast earlier this year, Kerley explained the reason for the move down in distance.,”At the end of the day, nobody really comes to watch anything besides ‘the fastest man in the world,'” he said. “So if you ask me what I want to be, I want to be the fastest man in the world.”,Now he is-and part of the fastest team in the world, too.,The runner-up, Bracy, was a scholarship football player who left Florida State to pursue track, then went back to the gridiron for a couple of unsuccessful tryouts in the NFL, and now has a silver medal.,”I went to play football for three years, obviously that didn’t work out,” Bracy said. “So to come back to do this, it just means everything.”,The medals are certain to ramp up expectations for this weekend’s 4x100m relay.,Kerley will be the leader of that team. He finished second at Tokyo 2020 behind Italy’s Marcell Jacobs.,Jacobs has been bothered by a glute muscle problem this season and was a late withdrawal from the semifinals. Canadian Olympic bronze medalist Andre De Grasse, diagnosed with COVID-19 recently, finished fifth in the same heat.,That left four Americans-defending world champion Christian Coleman was the other-in the eight-man final for only the second time (2015 was the other). Coleman started fast but finished sixth.,Kerley was in lane 4, one lane inside of Bracy, who had a body-length lead on his taller opponent with about 40 meters to go. Kerley closed and powered through the line for victory, while Bracy leaned in at the finish.,It took about 20 seconds for the result to come up. When it did, Kerley raised his hands, then had a presenter hang the gold medal around his neck.,Afterward, he dedicated the victory to his aunt Virginia, who raised Kerley and his four brothers and sisters after their father wound up in jail and their mother “took wrong turns in life”.,”I think about her every day because if it wasn’t for her I probably would not be talking to you now,” said Kerley.,Wonderful Wang,Meanwhile, Wang Jianan stunned the field to grab China’s first ever long jump gold medal at the worlds.,Wang, who won bronze at the 2015 Beijing worlds, surged to victory with his last attempt-8.36 meters-to beat Olympic champion Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece.,”After the last jump, I looked at the big screen, and was thrilled to see I went beyond 8.30. So I started to run on the track. I don’t even know why I started to run like that after I realized I had reached the podium. Maybe because I was too excited,” said Wang.,In the women’s shot put, China’s two-time defending champion Gong Lijiao had to settle for silver behind Chase Ealey of the US.,Ealey nailed the gold with her first attempt of 20.49m while Olympic champion Gong’s best throw was 20.39. Jessica Schilder of the Netherlands came third in a national record of 19.77.,”I actually feel good as this is my first major international meet after the Tokyo Olympics,” said Gong. “I’m excited and this result has given me confidence for the next world championships and the Paris Olympics. I didn’t feel too much pressure.”,Earlier, Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey won gold in the women’s 10,000m, with Kenya’s Hellen Obiri taking silver and her compatriot Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi claiming bronze.,Poland’s Pawel Fajdek clinched his fifth world title in the men’s hammer throw with an effort of 81.98m.,Agencies