EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) - Galen Rupp had a thumb’s up for a victorious 10,000 meters at the U.S. world championships trials on Thursday.
And for good reason.
The triumph, his seventh consecutive national title at the distance, was probably one of the few pleasing moments for the Olympic 10,000 meters silver medalist in the last month.
Doping accusations by the BBC television program Panorama in association with American website ProPublica against Rupp’s coach Alberto Salazar and the distance runner had put them in a global spotlight.
But on a hot June night, Rupp was able to put that aside to win his first race since the accusations.
He rushed to the lead with three laps to go and quickly pulled away to claim the victory in 28 minutes, 11.61 seconds.
“I was obviously pleased to get another championship,” he told reporters. “To do it here in Eugene is always special for me.”
He will be joined on the U.S. team for the August’s world championships in Beijing by race runner-up Ben True (28:14.26) and third place finisher Hassan Mead (28:16.54)
“It’s been hard I‘m not going to lie. It’s been difficult to focus,” the 29-year-old Rupp said of the accusations and reports that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is investigating Salazar.
“(But) I believe in clean sport and I think the truth will prevail.”
Molly Huddle won the women’s 10,000, claiming her first national title at the distance in 31:39.20.
The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan (31:42.29) with Emily Infield (31:42.60) followed her across the finish line to qualify for Beijing.
Tyson Gay, meanwhile, found his road to the 100 meters final will not be an easy one.
The American record holder was overshadowed by younger competitors in Thursday’s opening round.
Trayvon Bromell, 19, equaled the third fastest 100 in the world this year by running 9.84 seconds to top qualifying for Friday’s semi-finals.
Gay’s training partner, Remontay McClain, was even faster, the 22-year-old clocking 9.82 seconds though he was aided by a 4.9 meters per second wind, over the allowable limit.
The 32-year-old Gay, who missed a year of competition for doping in 2013, ran in the same heat as McClain and took second place in 9.85.
“It was weird, maybe weird is not the right word, against a group of guys I am running against now,” said Gay.
“It is a different era for me,” the 2007 world champion said.
Olympian Ryan Bailey was disqualified for false starting.
The women’s preliminary 100s were impressive too but also windy, with Olympic champion Carmelita Jeter the fastest at 10.87 seconds.
Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix won her preliminary in a high-quality women’s 400m in 51.40 seconds, third best of the day.
Felix, who has a bye to Beijing in the 200m, has yet to decide whether she will run that race or 400m at worlds.
Year’s fastest Francena McCorory had the top 400m time, 51.25, with London gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross ninth overall in 51.93. She advanced as a heat winner.
The wind also cost Marquis Dendy the leading long jump of the year. The collegian leaped 8.68 meters but the wind was over the allowable 3.7 meters per second.
Editing by Sudipto Ganguly