Gatlin, Merritt head toward 200m showdown on rainy day

Thu Jul 7, 2016 11:38pm EDT
 
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By Gene Cherry

EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) - Justin Gatlin and LaShawn Merritt remained on course for a 200 meters final while top hurdlers Brianna Rollins and Keni Harrison put on an early speed show at the U.S. Olympic trials on Thursday.

World silver medalist Gatlin eased through qualifying, finishing only eighth as Merritt, Walter Dix and Tyson Gay also made it through the 200 meters opening round.

Rollins beat Harrison by one hundredth of a second, clocking 12.56 seconds in women's 100 meters qualifying.

Gatlin, already on the U.S. team as the 100 meters trials winner, clocked 20.32 seconds to finish behind Ameer Webb (20.27 seconds) in their race on a cool, rainy afternoon.

"I just took my time and made sure I was in the top three coming out of the curve," Gatlin said. "I knew Ameer was gonna run. He’s got one gear, so he’s gonna go."

Four hundred meter trials winner Merritt, who holds the year's fastest 200m and 400m times, was third quickest in a wind-assisted 20.09 seconds.

"The 200 is still a little foreign to me, but I know that I’m fast and strong, so I figured I can handle it," Merritt said.

Dix (20.23) and Gay (20.36) moved on in wind-assisted performances in the July 1-10 trials which select the American team for the Rio Olympics.   Continued...

 
Jul 3, 2016; Eugene, OR, USA; Justin Gatlin (left) reacts after competing in during the men’s 100m finals in the 2016 U.S. Olympic track and field team trials at Hayward Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports