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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Felix eyes 200m crown

Olympic champion Allyson Felix isn't worried too much about the 200m world record, but the American would love to regain the 200m world title. Felix will try to take another step toward regaining the world crown she won three times, in 2005, 2007 and 2009, at the US athletics championships, selection meeting for the World Championships in Moscow August 10-18. The American surrendered the world title to Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown in Daegu in 2011, when Felix attempted an ambitious 200m-400m double and came away with bronze in the 200m and silver in the 400m. "By having that year when I did the 200 and 400, I definitely learned what it did to my 200 and I didn't really like it," said Felix, who this year has her sights set on the 100m and 200m. "I didn't have the same pop and the same sprint that I always had." At the 2012 London Olympics, Felix at last added 200m Games gold to her resume, and also earned gold in the 4x100m and 4x400m relays. She was part of the US team that smashed one of the oldest world records in London, when they won the 4x100m relay in 40.82sec. The American quartet sliced more than half a second off the 27-year-old record of 41.37sec set by the former East Germany in 1985, four years before the Berlin Wall fell. Felix is pleased to have been part of that achievement, but it doesn't give her much encouragement that the 200m world mark of 21.34sec, set by Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988, is within her reach. "It was inspiring but, in my personal opinion, when I look at the 200m and when I look at the world record, it's pretty far out there for me," said Felix, whose personal best is 21.69. "For me, I just try to improve each year but it's definitely not on top of my mind or anything like that. "But it's nice when you have a breakthrough," she added of the relay record. "It reassures you that you are going in the right direction. Felix has raced sparingly this season, and seemed unconcerned after a runner-up finish to Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast in Rome. "I'll stay patient," Felix said. "It's what happens down the season that counts." Carmelita Jeter anchored that record-setting US relay, some consolation for falling in the 100m final in London to Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Jeter, preparing to defend her 100m world title, suffered a scare at the Diamond League meeting in Shanghai in May, where she finished third in the 100m but pulled up at the end with an apparent leg injury. The bye that comes with her current world title means she doesn't have to finish in the top three at the US trials in order to defend her crown, although she does have to compete at the championships to make the US team. In the 110m hurdles, Jason Richardson enjoys a bye as the reigning world champion, so arrives at trials under less pressure to perform, while Aries Merritt, who followed up his London Olympic triumph by setting the world record of 12.80sec in September, must qualify. Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross is fighting to regain her racing form after a belated return from surgery on her big right toe in September. She was last in her first race back at the Eugene Diamond League meeting on June 1, although she voiced confidence that she'd be able to make the team for Moscow and be at full strength by August. LaShawn Merritt, who has struggled back from a doping ban since winning 2008 Olympic 400m gold, will be gunning for a fourth national 400m title and a chance to take on London Olympic champ Kirani James of Grenada in Moscow. Merritt, who was injured in the heats in London, has won four of his five 400m races this season. Jeremy Wariner, the 2004 Olympic 400m gold medallist, will need luck and a quick boost in form to secure a berth. He hasn't broken the 45-second barrier since April of last year.