Athletics-Kerley underlines his 100m credentials

Athletics - Ostrava Golden Spike - Municipal Stadium, Ostrava, Czech Republic - May 19, 2021 Fred Kerley of the U.S. in action during the 100m Men REUTERS/David W Cerny

OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (Reuters) - Fred Kerley underlined his impressive sprinting range by winning the 100m in 9.96 seconds, taking two notable scalps in the shape of fellow American Justin Gatlin (10.08) and Canada's Andre De Grasse (10.17), at the Ostrava Golden Spike on Wednesday.

Kerley, world bronze medallist over 400m in 2019, posted a 9.91 a month ago, the first time he had gone under 10 seconds, and showed it was no fluke on Wednesday with a controlled run and strong last 20 metres in cold conditions to leave Gatlin flailing.

Kerley went again over 200m later in the meeting but never really threatened the double as he finished second in 20.27, well adrift of impressive compatriot Kenny Bednarek who won in 19.93.

Despite his satisfying night, however, Kerley said his main focus remained the one-lap event.

"The 100 was good and the 200 I can't complain, though I've still got to work on it," he said. "It's not a surprise to me (his fast 100s) as I've been doing 4 x 100s my whole life so it's normal for me."

Asked about his plans for the Olympic trials, he said he would listen to his coach but that his focus would be "the main event, the 400 - I've still got stuff to accomplish in the 400."

Fellow American Sha’Carri Richardson, fresh from some startling 100m runs on home soil, looked to have plenty in reserve as she won the women's 200m in 22.35 seconds.

It appeared though that she was not overly impressed with her first experience of a major European meeting, posting some vague twitter messages earlier in the day, including her verdict on what was always one of Usain Bolt's favourite events: "first & last time here, not impressed".

There were startling performances by two British teenagers over 800 metres. Keely Hodgkinson, 19, broke two minutes outside for the first time with a hugely impressive 1:58.89 to win the women's race and Max Burgin, who turns 19 on Thursday, then destroyed the field with a brilliant front running performance to win in 1:44.14 - another massive personal best and the world leading time this year.

Uganda's Jacob Kiplimo became the seventh-fastest man ever over 10,000 metres when he posted 26 minutes 33.93 seconds but compatriot Joshua Cheptegei's world record bid over 3,000 fell well short as he clocked 7:33.24 - 13 seconds adrift of Daniel Komen's 1996 mark.

The pick of the field events was the men's javelin, where Germany’s Johannes Vetter launched his first throw 94.20 metres, the equal-seventh-longest throw in history. Only local favourite Jan Zelezny and Vetter himself have gone further.

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Toby Davis)

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