US bullish ahead of World Championships

Coach says the Americans are the ones to beat as Lolo Jones 'gutted' to miss out on Daegu 2011 in South Korea.

    Dwight Phillips will travel to South Korea to defend his long jump world title [GALLO/GETTY]

    A balanced American team bursting with talent should dominate the medals at this year's athletics world championships, men's coach Vin Lananna said after gruelling trials finished at the weekend.

    Although such big names as 2011 world leaders Tyson Gay and Brad Walker failed to make it through, Lananna said he believed the United States would top the medals table at the championships in Daegu, South Korea, from August 27 to September 4.

    In the women's, Lolo Jones – who famously clipped a hurdle to miss out on 100m gold the the Beijing 2008 Olympics – failed to make the team.

    She said on Twitter: "Gutted. I'd rather have someone stabbed me in the leg 5 times than experience the pain I'm feeling in my heart by not making Team USA."

    "Gutted. I'd rather have someone stabbed me in the leg 5 times than experience the pain I'm feeling in my heart by not making Team USA"

    US hurdler Lolo Jones on @followlolo

    Lananna told the Reuters news agency that he was confident about the lineup.

    "We have the number one team in the world, and I think we are in a position this year to keep that string alive," he said.
    "We have a good combination, a good balance of veterans and youth."

    Jumpers, hurdlers, sprinters, shot putters and decathletes power the men's team.

    Long jumper Dwight Phillips, 400 metres hurdler Kerron Clement, shot putter Christian Cantwell and decathlete Trey Hardee will travel to Daegu as reigning champions.

    World leaders David Oliver, Jesse Williams and Ashton Eaton could also win gold.

    Oliver holds the world lead in the 110m hurdles with a mark of 12.94 seconds, high jumper Williams soared a lifetime best 2.37 metres on Sunday and decathlete Eaton scored an impressive 8,729 points in the trials.

    Tough ask

    Double sprint champion Walter Dix also promised victory, although his is a tough ask against world record holder Usain Bolt, and the Jamaican's speedy compatriots in the 100m and 200m.
    But the absence of world silver medallist Gay, who scratched from the trials with hip problems before the 100m semi-finals, could trim US medal expectations.

    Allyson Felix could win her fourth world title in the 200m [GALLO/GETTY]

    Pole vaulter Walker also is out after no-heighting.

    For up-and-coming performers, Lananna can turn to Tony McQuay, who surprised former Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner in the 400, triple jumpers Will Claye and Christian Taylor and Jeshua Anderson, who outran a group of talented US 400m hurdlers.

    Women's coach Connie Price has a squad strong in the sprints, hurdles and long jump.
    The Americans have the 2011 world leader in all three sprint events, both hurdles races and the long jump.

    US champion Carmelita Jeter has the top 100m time, Shalonda Solomon, who upset Jeter, posted the 200m world lead in doing so and three-times world 200m champion Allyson Felix earlier ran the year's fastest 400.

    Felix could wind up going for gold in both the 200 and 400 as well as two relays.

    If she does the double, one of her strongest challengers in the 400 will be American Sanya Richards-Ross, the reigning world champion.
    American champions Kellie Wells and Lashinda Demus also could be tough to beat. They lead the world in the 100 and 400m hurdles, respectively.

    Brittney Reese likewise must be considered a top world championship favourite.

    The reigning long jump champion soared a personal best 7.19m in the trials. No other jumper has been over seven metres this season.

    The performances had Lananna thinking the next two years would be good ones for American athletics.

    "The United States is in a great position for the IAAF championships in Daegu, but also for setting the table for what is to happen in London a year from now," he said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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