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When Paul Chelimo speaks he still carries a Kenyan-Swahili accent, however, when he races, he is as brash as any American. Throughout the men’s 5000m event, he gestured, trash talked and finger pointed to the win. He clocked a 13:26.82 on a very hot day, where trackside temperatures rose to well over 100F (40C).
He finished the race by wandering over to lane four, causing Grant Fisher and Woody Kincaid out wide as well. Fisher clocked a 13:27.01 and Kincaid is credited with a 13:27.13. After the three crossed the finish line Chelimo grabbed Fisher and Kincaid in a brotherly hug – almost in an apologetic way.
Fisher entered the race with a personal best, which he set in March at 13:02.53. Kincaid owns a best of 12:58.10, which he set two years prior. During the 2021 U.S.A. Track and Field Trials, he won the 10,000m in the time of 27:53.62, which he capped with a furious kick. His kick was there Sunday, but not quite to the same level; Chelimo wasn’t going to let him pass.
Chelimo is the reigning silver medallist from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. He owns a best of 12:57.55 set in 2019. The former Kenyan also has a World Championships bronze medal from London 2017.
“I am actually a really nice guy in person when you get to know me,” said Chelimo after the race. “….these guys are friends of mine but not during the race.”
All three are Nike-sponsored athletes.
Athing Mu may be young at 19, but she races with the maturity of a veteran. Sunday she created some foreshadowing for her competitors she will face during the Tokyo Olympic Games. She ran away from the field over the final 200m in what appeared to be an easy effort. It was a thing of beauty.
Mu pronounced like “mow” clocked a 1:56.07 finish time improving on her own personal best of 1:57.73. Her first lap was run in the time of 57.53 and she led from the gun to tape.
Raevyn Rogers and Ajee Wilson followed in for second and third positions. The two finished in 1:57.66 and 1:58.39, respectively.
Rogers is the reigning silver medallist from the 2019 World Athletics Championships. Sunday’s performance was a new personal best for the 24-year-old. Wilson owns the national record for the distance at 1:55.61. She is a two-time World Athletics Championships bronze medallist. She will be looking to add to her collection with an Olympic medal, but will be in tough for gold with Mu in the line-up.
Noah Lyles took the win in the men’s 200m in the time of 19.74. He wasn’t the fastest out of the hyper-sensitive blocks, but he ran down the field in commanding fashion. He will be the one to beat in Tokyo in this sprint event.
Kenny Bednarek clocked a 19.78 for second and Erriyon Knighton took third recording a 19.84 performance.
Lyles earned two gold medals during the 2019 Doha World Athletics Championships in the 100m and 4 x 100m events. He will be seeking to add gold in Tokyo, in the 200m event. He surprisingly finished deep in the field in the 100m during the Trials finals the previous Sunday.
No one knows for sure if 2016 Rio Olympic gold medallist Matthew Centrowitz allowed Cole Hocker to take the win, but Hocker took it in the time of 3:35.28. Centrowitz clocked a 3:35.34. Yared Nuguse finished in 3:36.19 for third.
Cole Hocker what a finish to pass Matthew Centrowitz 👀— Billy Heyen (@BillyHeyen) June 28, 2021
(Hocker doesn’t yet have the Olympic standard and will have to wait to learn his Tokyo fate, per NBC.)
Hocker, an Oregon freshman, was supported loudly as were all Oregonians in the Eugene-based Trials. Hocker buoyed by the crowd outkicked Centrowitz, who may have just given the crowd the finish that they wanted. The crowd at Hayward Field wildly cheered. It was a new personal best, however, he still doesn’t have the Olympic standard and will have to wait for the USATF’s decision on whether or not he should get to go to Tokyo next month.
Women’s 400m hurdles
Sydney McLaughlin ran a meet, personal, and Trials all-time best. The performance on Sunday is also a pending world record. It was a stunning performance at 51.90 — she is the first athlete to run sub-52 seconds.
“This season, working with my new coach and just my new support system, it’s truly just faith and trusting the process, and I couldn’t ask for anything more,” said McLaughlin after the race.
Dalilah Muhammad finished in second place in the time of 52.42. Anna Cockrell took third in 53.70 for a new personal best.
The future looks bright for the two young athletes as McLaughlin is just 21, Cockrell is 23. Muhammad at 31 held her own, well. All three look good for medals in Tokyo next month.
Full results are available here>>