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US coaches expect sprinters to deliver at Berlin worlds

THE US team at August's world athletics championships is expected to take the fast track to success, with coaches tipping sprinters and hurdlers to lead the way in Berlin.

"We have put together a great team," women's head coach Chandra Cheeseborough said at the conclusion of the four-day US trials in Eugene, Oregon, on Sunday.

"I really like the make-up of this team," men's coach Harvey Glance added. "We have seasoned veterans, but I also like the fact we have some rookies."

Hurdles squads for both men and women should be especially strong after Olympic bronze medallist Bershawn Jackson and a rejuvenated Lashinda Demus delivered season-leading times in winning 400 meters hurdles titles. Olympic champion Dawn Harper looked impressive in a wind-assisted women's 100 hurdles with Beijing silver medallist David Payne claiming the men's 110 hurdles with a narrow win over Terrence Trammell, twice an Olympic silver medallist.

Top American sprinter Tyson Gay ran only one race at the trials, as the defending 100 and 200 meters world champion has an automatic bye to Berlin in both events.

However, he showed plenty of speed in his only appearance, clocking a wind-assisted 9.75 seconds in a 100 metres preliminary round.

Equally impressive was 2004 Olympic 200 meters champion Shawn Crawford. Although now 31, Crawford zipped through his final in a windy 19.73 seconds, his fastest time ever.

The 400 meters also looks strong with Olympic gold medallist LaShawn Merritt heading the team that will also include world champion Jeremy Wariner, who ran the 200 at the trials.

Cheeseborough expressed delight in her team's mixture. "In the sprints, the young ladies have done well," she said, referring to 100 meters winner Carmelita Jeter, 200 meters world champion Allyson Felix and 400 meters US winner Sanya Richards.


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