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Kerley cramps up, falls short of 200 final at worlds

Kerley cramps up, falls short of 200 final at worlds

11:01 PM ET

  • ESPN News Services

EUGENE, Ore. — World 100-meter champ Fred Kerley will not have a chance at two individual medals at the world championships after he slowed down midway through his 200-meter semifinal due to a cramp and finished sixth.

The American, once a 400-meter specialist who moved down in distance before last year’s Olympics, was holding his left hamstring Tuesday night after he crossed the finish line.

Kerley won the 100 in 9.86 seconds and was expected to lead the Americans in the 4×100 relay this weekend. He hasn’t been ruled out of that event.

His departure in the 200 opens a less-challenging path for Noah Lyles, the defending world champion, 18-year-old Erriyon Knighton and top-ranked Kenny Bednarek, all of whom advanced. The trio had the top three times, led by Lyles at 19.62 seconds.

Later Tuesday, Alison Dos Santos of Brazil powered down the homestretch to take the 400-meter hurdles title.

The underdog even if he had the fastest time and No. 1 ranking coming in, Dos Santos held off a decorated field that included the world-record holder. Dos Santos finished in a championship-record time of 46.29 seconds. Americans Rai Benjamin and Trevor Bassitt won the silver and bronze.

Olympic champion and world-record holder Karsten Warholm of Norway has been dealing with hamstring issues and didn’t have his trademark kick at the finish. He wound up seventh.

“I’ve only been focusing on getting ready, and today I went all or nothing, and unfortunately it was nothing,” Warholm said. “I’ve just got to live with that.”

Warholm, Benjamin and Dos Santos have formed the Big Three in the event. So any time they don’t end up on the podium it’s a shocker.

The 24-year-old Bassitt used the underdog card to his advantage. After the race, he replicated NBA standout Steph Curry’s iconic “night, night” gesture.

No one will sleep on him again.

“I knew for me there really wasn’t that much pressure from the outside,” Bassitt said. “I knew if I got a medal people would be shocked. I knew if I didn’t get a medal it would be like, ‘OK, he really wasn’t supposed to.’ I feel like I belong in that pedigree in that group of three. I feel like today proved it.”

“Just amazing,” Benjamin said of his teammate. “So proud of him.”

Upon his finish, Dos Santos gave two bows to the cheering crowd. He broke Kevin Young’s world-championship record of 47.18 seconds set in 1993 in Germany. Dos Santos won bronze at the Tokyo Games last summer behind Warholm and Benjamin.

“The energy of the crowd was amazing,” Dos Santos said. “I felt their love, people hugging me. When you win, you start being everyone’s favorite.”

Indeed, it was a night full of surprises, with Jake Wightman of Britain winning the 1,500 meters. He had a look of disbelief as he crossed the finish line ahead of Olympic champion and heavy favorite Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway.

“Crazy,” Wightman said.

The in-stadium announcer for Wightman’s race was none other than his dad, Geoff. Handing Jake Wightman the gold medal after the race was none other than British middle-distance great Sebastian Coe, who also happens to be the World Athletics President and one of Wightman’s mentors.

“What else could I ask for?” Wightman said.

Wightman’s win arrived because he decided to take a chance and go all-out with about 200 meters to go.

“I thought, ‘I’m going to give this a go,'” Wightman said. “‘If I end up finishing fourth, whatever. I gave it a go to try to win.”’

Maybe the biggest shocker of the night was that Wightman’s dad was able to keep it together on the call in the stadium, even with his own son about to win.

“I have to keep it neutral,” he explained. “So there’s things you can do just to stop yourself from getting emotional.”

Wightman finished in a time of 3 minutes, 29.23 seconds. His win broke a string of five straight world 1,500 titles by the Kenyans. Spain’s Mohamed Katir flew down the homestretch to take home bronze.

“To take the win, I think it will take a long time to sink in,” Wightman said. “I just wanted to show I was in good shape and to build on it.”

The Jamaican women are poised for another sprint sweep after qualifying three for the final in the 200. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah — the finishing order of the 100 — all advanced. Jackson had the fastest time at 21.67.

It was an easy night at the track for the medal favorites in the women’s 400 hurdles. Olympic champion and world-record holder Sydney McLaughlin, defending world champion Dalilah Muhammad and Olympic bronze medalist Femke Bol of the Netherlands easily won their first-round heats.

“This event has become one of the main focuses for the last couple of years,” Muhammad said. “It could be any one of our days. So we’ll just see how it goes.”

Other winners included Australia’s Eleanor Patterson in the women’s high jump and Kristjan Ceh of Slovenia in the men’s discus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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