This is Sam Fariss’s piece on the departure of Fred Kerley in the semi-final round. Fred was the 2022 World Champion in the Men’s 100 meters.
Budapest WACs 2023 Day 2: No repeat champion in the men’s 100,
BUDAPEST – Fred Kerley will not be defending his world title in the men’s 100 meters. The 28-year-old American was many people’s favorite to win gold in the event, leaving few doubts that he would repeat atop the podium.
Kerley looked strong in his qualifying heat, gliding into the semifinal round in 9.99 seconds. However, the defending world champ fell short in the final heat of the semis, finishing in 9th place with a time of 10.02 seconds. The eighth-place finisher overall, Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala, earned a little q to move onto the final with a time just 0.01 seconds ahead of Kerley.
“On to the next one, I’m healthy, and that’s all that matters,” Kerley said. “I think everything was good. I’m healthy, and they got better. I should’ve been there.”
Kerley was edged out of his heat’s top two spots (automatic qualifiers) by 22-year-old Jamaican Oblique Seville and Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo. He was 0.12 seconds behind Seville, the heat winner.
Fred Kerley, USATF presser, World Athletics Championships
August 19-27, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris
Team USA members Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman were able to qualify for the final event, earning the top two times of the heats and both running season bests. Lyles crossed in 9.87 seconds to win the first heat, and Coleman won heat two in 9.88 seconds.
“If Noah runs 9.65, I’m running faster,” Kerley had said ahead of the Budapest world champs. “I’m Fred Kerley, and this is my title.”
Now, it is up to Lyles and Coleman to prove they can live up to the hype they have created around themselves in the final just two and a half hours after the semi-final heats concluded.
Joining Lyles, Coleman, Seville, Tebogo, and Omanyala in the final event will be Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, Jamaica’s Ryiem Forde, and Japan’s Abdul Hakim Sani Brown. It will certainly be interesting to see who the new world title holder will be at the end of the day.
The other finals on day two of the Budapest World Athletics Championships are the men’s 10,000 meters, men’s hammer throw, women’s long jump, and women’s heptathlon. The women’s 20km race walk final occurred at the start of day two, with Spain’s Maria Perez taking home gold for her country.
Editor’s note: The Men’s final of the 100 meters was one of the moments of the night. Crowing the World’s Fastest Man was as exciting as the hype around the race.
In the final, Noah Lyles got out the slowest of all the medalists, but he proceeded to use every centimeter to display his prowess, running a 9.83 to take the gold in the 100 meters, equalling the World Leader. In the silver position, young star Letsile Tebogo ran 9.88 for an NR for Botswana. And in the bronze, Zharnel Hughes, who sets British NRs at 100m and 200m, took third in 9.88.
One final note, Marcell Jacobs, the Olympic 2021 champion and European 2022 champion at 100 meters, did not get out of the semi-finals. He had a SB of 10.21 prior to Budapest, then ran 10.15 in the heats and 10.05 SB in the semi-finals. He had recently told Italian media at the Casa Italia, “I am running in the dark.”