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Reigning Olympic Champion in the women’s 400m, Sanya Richards-Ross will not be in Rio to defend her title as she Did Not Finish (DNF) her race after hurting her hamstring during the heats of the ongoing US Olympic Trials holding at the Hayward Field in Oregon.

The former World Champion got out of the blocks smoothly but had to resort to jogging, before pulling up completely. She then walked to the finishing line as the fans gave her a standing ovation.

The three-time Olympic GOLD medallist in the 4x400m had been banking on ending her career after the Rio Olympics, but would now have to call it a day after being slowed down by numerous injuries.

She said, “That’s the toughest part for every athlete. You really want to go to the Olympics. No matter how banged up you are, you still think it’s possible. I just thought, ‘Man, this is really the end of it for me, I won’t get a chance to compete.’ That was the toughest part.”

The 31-year old has been engaged in a fitness battle since last year, and although her career may not have ended the way she initially planned, she can take solace in the fact that she still holds the American Record of 48.70s.

Speaking about the crowd’s response, she said: “I’ll always remember how the crowd reacted. Someone asked before the race how would I love to go out, and I said I would just enjoy the moment. To be able to run a half a victory lap here at Hayward Field for my final 400 that I didn’t finish, I thought was pretty special.”

Meanwhile Courtney Okolo ran the fastest time overall in the heats, clocking 50.79s to win Heat 3, the same heat Richards-Ross competed in. Francena McCorory (50.94s), Phyllis Francis (50.81s) and Quanera Hayes (51.79s) won Heats 1, 2 and 4 respectively.

It would take a lot for Allyson Felix’s hopes of doing the 200m/400m double to materialize as the reigning World Champion over the 400m finished 9th overall in the standings with her time of 51.96s.

Felix has also been slowed down by injury and is not in the same form that saw her upstage the favourites to win the event at last year’s US Trials. She would need to finish among the Top 3 to be able to compete in the 400m in Rio.

David Verburg ran the fastest time overall of 45.31s to win Heat 4 ahead of Marcus Chambers (45.87s). Najee Glass (45.41s), Geno Hall (45.61s), LaShawn Merritt (45.54s) and Gil Roberts (45.40s) won the remaining heats.

Reigning Olympic Champion Brittney Reese made a mammoth World Leading (WL) leap of 7.31m to win the women’s Long Jump ahead of World Champion Tianna Bartoletta (7.02). Janay DeLoach was 3rd in 6.93m.

Ryan Crouser won the men’s Shot put final with a distance of 22.11s as Joe Kovacs followed with 21.95m, while Darrell Hill finished 3rd with 21.63m.

Whitney Ashley won the women’s Discus throw with a distance of 62.25m. Shelbi Vaughan and Kelsey Card followed in 2nd and 3rd respectively with 60.28m and 60.13m.

Galen Rupp was the man to beat in the 10,000m after returning a time of 27:55.04, while Molly Huddle won the women’s event in 31:41.62.


Yemi Galadima is a Senior Sportswriter and Editor at Making of Champions. She has a bias for Athletics and was previously a Sports Reporter at the National Mirror, where she hosted a weekly column ‘On the Track with Yemi Olus’ for over two years. A self-acclaimed ‘athletics junkie’, she has covered national and international events live, such as the African Athletics Championships, African Games, Olympics and World Athletics Championships. She also freelances for World Athletics.


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