Florence's Gabby Thomas advances in 200 meters at World Athletics Championships


Associated Press

Published: 08-23-2023 4:54 PM

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Sha'Carri Richardson and Noah Lyles each kicked off their quest for a second medal at the world championships Wednesday by easily winning their heats in the 200-meter preliminaries.

Richardson finished in 22.16 seconds and Lyles in 20.05 in a pair of no-drama returns to the track after they gave the United States the first sweep of the 100 meters at a worlds since 2017, when Justin Gatlin and Tori Bowie won in London.

Three women who have run faster than Richardson in the 200 this year — Jamaica's Shericka Jackson, St. Lucia's Julien Alfred and the United States' Gabby Thomas, of Florence, also qualified easily.

Thomas had the second-fastest time overall behind only Richardson, crossing in 22.26 seconds to take first in Heat 5. The semifinals for the 200 are Thursday, with finals set for Friday.

Britain’s Josh Kerr pulled off the biggest upset at track and field’s world championships Wednesday, outrunning heavily favored Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway to the line for a win in the 1,500 meters.

Kerr finished in 3 minutes, 29.28 seconds to join Jake Wightman as the second British runner in two years to upset Ingebrigtsen at worlds.

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A few minutes later, another Norwegian avoided the same fate. Olympic champion and world-record holder Karsten Warholm ran away from a stacked 400-meter hurdle field to climb back on top in that race after injuries derailed him last year. Moments after his win, he was posing with his country’s flag and wearing his Viking horns.

Warholm crossed in 46.89 seconds, a full three paces and .45 seconds ahead of surprise silver medalist Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands. American Rai Benjamin finished third and defending champion Alison dos Santos of Brazil clipped the eighth and 10th hurdles and finished fifth.

The women’s 400 meters was a runaway for Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic, who won in 48.76. She beat Natalia Kaczmarek, who finished in 49.57 to become the first man or woman from Poland to take a world medal in the 400.

Women’s pole vault yielded two gold medals, as defending champion Katie Moon of the U.S. and Nina Kennedy of Australia missed all three tries at 4.95 meters (16 feet, 2 3/4 inches), then agreed to share first instead of jumping in a tiebreaker for the title.

It was the same decision Mutaz Barshim (Qatar) and Gianmarco Tamberi (Italy) made at the Olympics two years ago. Tamberi won his own gold Tuesday night in Budapest.

For Ingebrigtsen, world gold in the 1,500 is proving elusive. The 22-year-old Norwegian is the Olympic champion and has the fastest times this season. He came in as a 1-7 betting favorite but has yet to cross the line first in the 1,500 at any world-championship meet.

This silver goes with the one from last year, along with a second place at indoor world championships in 2022 and at junior worlds in 2018.

Ingebrigtsen surged to the lead at about the 500-meter mark and led for the next two laps. But Kerr stayed right on his heels, and with a half-lap to go, he pulled even. Then, he passed and held on for the win by .27 seconds.

Kerr added this, his biggest win, to a bronze medal he took in the race Ingebrigtsen won in Tokyo two years ago. Ingebrigtsen will have another chance later this week when he defends his title in the 5,000 meters.