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Richardson punches ticket to Paris Olympics with 100m win

Sha’Carri Richardson earned her Olympic redemption on Saturday, winning the 100 metres final at the US trials to punch her ticket to Paris, as Noah Lyles cruised through the opening heats on the men’s side.

The world champion wrested the lead midway through the race and accelerated through the final metres to finish in a world-leading 10.71 seconds, with Melissa Jefferson taking second in 10.80 and Twanisha Terry third in 10.89.

The fan favourite saw her Tokyo Olympic dream shattered with a positive cannabis test three years ago but was able to shake off the bitter memories as she took in the wild cheers from the adoring crowd in Eugene, Oregon.

“I feel honoured. I feel everything, every chapter I’ve been through in my life… prepared me for this moment,” she said in a televised interview after the race.

The moment was made all the sweeter for Richardson as she will travel to Paris with her training partners Jefferson and Terry. The trio embraced in a scene of utter joy after crossing the finish at Hayward Field.

“I cannot wait to go to Paris and represent,” said Richardson, who went into the stands to hug her grandmother after the win. “It was a great race.”

Richardson is also entered to compete in the 200 metres, with the opening heats for the longer sprint set for Thursday.

Lyles got a speedy start off the blocks to produce the fastest time across the opening heats in 9.92, kicking off his US Olympics Trials campaign with rapper Snoop Dogg sitting next to his mother in the stands.

Lyles, who completed the sprint double last year in Budapest, told reporters it was the best he has ever felt in an opening round 100 metres race.

“It was definitely the start I was looking for,” he said. “I’m really proud of what I’ve put together.”

Christian Coleman, who missed the Tokyo Games after receiving a two-year ban for breaching whereabouts rules, was the second-fastest of the day in 9.99.

The 200 metres Olympic silver medallist Kenny Bednarek also advanced to the semi-final stage, along with 2022 world champion Fred Kerley.

Shot put world record holder Ryan Crouser overcame multiple injuries earlier this year to win the men’s final with a best throw of 22.84 metres, while his main rival Joe Kovacs finished second with 22.43 and Payton Otterdahl third.

“It was a tough spring to say the least,” said Crouser, who hopes to claim a third consecutive gold in Paris. “So, I’m just happy to be out here competing again.”

Jasmine Moore won the women’s triple jump on her final attempt of 14.26 metres, while Keturah Orji was second with 14.22 and 2022 world bronze medallist Tori Franklin took third with a leap of 13.72.

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