EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) - Tyson Gay is back on top as America’s 100 meters champion, but he had to run down teen-ager Trayvon Bromell for the honor at the U.S. world championships trials on Friday.
The victory, in 9.87 seconds, returned the 32-year-old Gay to the world championships for the first time since 2009 and fans lauded him with a teddy bear, a book and some high fives during a victory lap.
Bromell, just 19, clearly had the jump on Gay early in the race but could not retain the advantage as the 2007 world champion powered to the lead and won by almost a tenth of a second.
”That kid -- he’s tough,“ Gay said of Bromell. ”He got out good, it was just one of those 10 years of experience, dig-down moments I had to get him. It felt good though.
“This win right here may be (my) most important win. I feel like it was the toughest.”
Bromell clocked 9.96 to become the first teen-ager to the make a U.S. world championship team in the 100m.
Mike Rodgers claimed third in 9.97 seconds as he also won a ticket to Beijing.
Justin Gatlin, the year’s fastest at 100m, has a bye for Beijing in the event and will compete only in the 200m at the trials. His first race is on Saturday.
Tori Bowie won the women’s final in 10.81 with English Gardner the runner-up at 10.86.
Gardner had equaled the year’s fastest time in the semi-finals, 10.79, but she could not hold off Bowie when it counted.
The third spot for Beijing went to collegian Jasmine Todd in 10.92.
“I for sure think we made a statement (to the world) today,” Bowie said. “But I am sure the other ladies are going to be just as prepared.”
The U.S. had previously never had six women under 11 seconds in a 100m final.
Olympic silver medalist Carmelita Jeter just missed making it seven. She clocked 11.01 and failed to make the U.S. team in an individual event.
London Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross was another casualty. She came fifth in her 400m semi in 50.95, missing the final by one spot. She could still make the team in the 4x400 meters relay.
Francena McCorory ran the year’s fastest women’s 400m, 49.85 seconds, to lead the advancement to Saturday’s final.
Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix also advanced, running 50.62.
American athletes also produced the best performances of the year in the decathlon and women’s 100m hurdles.
Trey Hardee, the Olympic silver medalist, scored a massive victory in a decathlon that was minus world record holder Ashton Eaton, who had a bye.
Hardee piled up 8,725 points to second placed Jeremy Taiwo’s 8,264. Collegian Zach Ziemek also made the team.
Sharika Nelvis produced the year’s best in the women’s 100 meters hurdles preliminaries, pacing a high quality women’s field. She ran 12.34 seconds in a first round race.
The trials conclude on Sunday.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Eugene, Oregon; Editing by Peter Rutherford/Cameron French/Amlan Chakraborty