Austin, TX, USA (Reuters): Gabby Thomas endured heartbreak at the 2022 U.S. championships as a hamstring injury derailed her tilt at the 200m title but she made up for that on Sunday by posting a world leading time of 21.60 to win this year’s event.
On the final night of action in Eugene, Oregon, teenager Erriyon Knighton scorched to victory in the men’s race in 19.72, while Rai Benjamin showed he has recovered from an early-season injury by cruising to the 400m hurdles titles.
Thomas, in her signature event, grabbed the lead at the halfway point and came home more than three tenths of a second ahead of 100m champion Sha’Carri Richardson, with Kayla White edging last year’s winner Abby Steiner to take third in 22.01.
The top three finishers in Eugene, who met certain qualifying standards, and reigning global title-holders advanced to the world championships in Budapest. “Coming here last year and being injured was really heartbreaking for me so I was really ready this year,” Thomas said
Knighton took bronze at the 2022 World Championships as part of a U.S. podium sweep and the 19-year-old showed he will be a force in Budapest, coming home a tenth of a second ahead of Olympic and world silver medallist Kenny Bednarek.Courtney Lindsey was third in 19.85.
“It was a very good race. Came here and executed right,” said Knighton. “We got us a good squad going over there.” Double world silver medallist Benjamin showed his class in the 400m hurdles final by clocking 46.62, with CJ Allen posting 48.18 in second and Trevor Bassitt third in 48.26.
“It sets me up very well,” Benjamin said of his performance, with another duel against Norwegian world record-holder Karsten Warholm almost certainly on the Budapest agenda.
“It’s been a rough two months so I’m happy it just all came together today.” Rio Olympic gold medallist Dalilah Muhammad (53.53) lost out to Shamier Little (53.34) in the women’s race, with Nia Akins winning the women’s 800m in 1:59.50.
Bryce Hoppel came out on top in a chippy men’s race in 1:46.20. Rio silver medallist Paul Chelimo had to settle for second in the 5,000m as he was unable to catch Abdihamid Nur down the final stretch. Nur won in 13:24.37, while Elise Cranny won the women’s race in 14:52.66.
World record holder and double Olympic champion Ryan Crouser delivered a dominating performance to take the men’s shot put title, throwing for 22.86m on his final attempt ahead of his world title defence.
Reigning Olympic and world champion Katie Moon again got the better of three-time world silver medallist Sandi Morris in the women’s pole vault, clearing a world-leading 4.90m.
Morris finished second with 4.61m.
An ecstatic Tara Davis-Woodhall blew kisses to the crowd after posting 6.87m to win the women’s long jump, while world champion Brooke Andersen won the hammer throw with 78.65m.
Olympic champion Valarie Allman won the women’s discus with 67.66m while JuVaughn Harrison won the men’s high jump with 2.26m.
The world championships kick off on Aug. 19.