Reigning champion Fred Kerley and rusty Olympic champion Marcell Jacobs both failed to make the final of the men’s 100m at the World Athletics Championships on Sunday.
In a loaded field, Jacobs could only manage 10.05sec to finish fifth in a semi-final won by American Noah Lyles in 9.87 in Budapest.
Only the top two in each of the three semi-finals plus the next two fastest advanced to the final, scheduled for 1710 GMT.
Jacobs, with only one outdoor race to his name this season before these championships, had struggled out of his heat on Saturday, and there was more pain to come for the Italian in the semi-final in sweltering conditions at the National Athletics Centre.
In a loaded field, Jacobs trailed in behind Lyles, second-placed Abdul Hakim Sani Brown of Japan, who clocked 9.97, Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala and Britain’s Eugene Amo-Dadzie.
There was more drama as Kerley then finished third in his semi-final in 10.02sec behind Jamaica’s Oblique Seville and Botswanan Letsile Tebogo.
Kerley’s hopes of snagging one of the next two fastest times were also blown as Ryiem Forde of Jamaica, who clocked 9.95, and Omanyala, who was just one-hundredth of a second faster than the American, progressing to the final.
Jacobs argued that he had been much better than in Saturday’s heats, telling Italy’s Rai television: “I had better feelings than yesterday, I made lots of mistakes then, but I knew that it would be tough.
“I’m lacking races. It doesn’t reflect my level. I could have chosen to stay at home but I fought and gave my best.
“When I return to the hotel tonight, I’ll be able to look at myself in the mirror and say to myself that I gave everything that I had.
“I’m proud of what I achieved in these championships. There’s still the relay where we can do something good.”
Kerley said he was not “devastated” by his result, but admitted it had been a “terrible race”.
“That’s the point of the race, to find the better men,” he said.
“They were better men today. There were some movements in the start blocks but other than that I had no issues. I just have to move on.
“Life moves on. If I’m still in the stadium this evening I’ll watch the final. If not, I won’t. I don’t know whether we’ll see a world record but there’ll be a 1-2 finish for USA,” he predicted.
Much of the run-up to the world championships had centred on a potential match-up between Kerley and Jacobs.
Jacobs beat the American to Olympic gold in Tokyo in a European record of 9.80 two years ago, but the pair have not met on the track since. Kerley claimed gold in Eugene last year after Jacobs pulled out of his semi-final with an injury.
This season, Jacobs has endured a niggling back problem and has raced outdoors only once, finishing seventh in 10.21 at the Paris Diamond League meet last month.
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