(Reuters) - World record holder Christian Coleman overcame a sluggish start to run the season’s fastest 60m in the preliminaries of the U.S. championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Friday.
Coleman, the Tokyo Olympic 100 metres favourite as the world champion, went on to win comfortably in 6.48 seconds despite easing up early in his first meeting of the season.
“We are on world record watch,” said four-time Olympic sprint medallist Ato Boldon, now an NBC Sports analyst.
“If that’s how he’s looking. It means he can challenge 6.34 in (Saturday’s) final.”
Boldon was referring to the world record Coleman set two years ago on the same track in the rarefied air of high altitude Albuquerque that aids sprinters and slows distance runners.
“It felt pretty good,” the 23-year-old said of his latest run. “Hopefully, I can use it to prepare me for the outdoor season and make the Olympic team.”
Season’s bests also were set in the women’s 400m and shot put and the men’s weight throw.
Former collegiate champion Wadeline Jonathas dominated 400m qualifying, winning by more than a second in 51.32, and Chase Ealey claimed the women’s shot put with a final round throw of 18.99m.
On the men’s side, Conor McCullough took the infrequently contested weight throw at 25.31m.
Olympic 5,000m silver medallist Paul Chelimo showed he is ready for another Games by winning the 3,000m in 8:00.14 and Olympian Shelby Houlihan won the women’s 3,000m in 8:52.03 for her 11th national title on the track.
Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Robert Birsel