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Richards failed to make U.S. 400m team for Osaka - U.S. Championships - DAY 3

24 June 2007

By Gary Smith and Michael Bishop

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana - Reigning World silver medallist Sanya Richards was stunned at the 2007 AT&T USA Outdoor Championships here in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Saturday.

Going out as hard as she is accustom to, Richards found herself struggling in the closing metres after being overtaken by eventual winner De’Hashia Trotter and NCAA champion Natasha Hastings.

Thinking that she was already safe with one of the top three positions, Richards let her guard down and was also passed by Mary Wineberg (50.24), who came up for third.

“I didn’t even realised I got 4th,” a disappointed looking Richards said afterwards. “I thought I was already on the team (with the first 3 making it).

“I didn’t fight for that third spot. I’ really, really disappointed, but this is God’s will,” she added.

Trotter’s winning time was 49.64, while Hastings’ best of 49.84 secured a place for her on the World Championships team.

Richards was 4th in 50.68.

The men’s race was close to the end, but a late surge at the end by Angelo Taylor saw him winning the event in 44.05, just ahead of LaShawn Merritt (44.06) .

USC’s 20-year-old Lionel Larry dug deep in the last 30 metres to overtake Darold Williamson (44.97) and take the third automatic place in 44.84.

“It was a gutsy race. LaShawn Merritt is a fighter like me and I believe I just wanted it more today. It was a great race, a gutsy race. I’m pleased,” Taylor said.

Asked if he was still considering the familiar 400m Hurdles, which he won an Olympic gold medal Taylor said: “I haven’t given up on the hurdles.

“I was feeling more comfortable in the 400m than in the hurdles, so I decided to run the 400m here. My goal is to be ranked in the top in the World in both the 400m and 400m hurdles this year.”

After a false start, Virginia Powell rocked from the blocks to take the women’s 100m Hurdles over reigning world champion Michelle Perry in 12.63.

“This means everything to me,” Powell said. “I was definitely focused on my start. I feel that it’s the strong part of my race. I knew if I could get out like I normally do and stay in the lead the whole way, I could get the win.”

In the men’s 400m Hurdles, James Carter ran well from the start to win in the fastest time in year of 47.72. Kerron Clement late challenge was not enough for victory, but he came close to take second in 47.80.

“For me, it just means that I’m where I am as far as the shape I want to be in. I just try to stay as relaxed as possible,” Cater said.

“I was able to do that today - I knew Kerron was coming, but I stayed relaxed. There are a lot of things I want to improve, but I’ve got time before Osaka (World Championships) to improve, so I think my chances are pretty good.”

Meanwhile, Richards, who promised she will go all out in the 200m to take the crown took second place in her heat in 23. 47. Shareese Woods won the race in 23.35.

Rachelle Smith, Allyson Felix, La Shauntea Moore and Mikele Barber, who qualified fastest, were the heat winners.

Newly crowned 100m champion Tyson Gay is the best qualifier in the men’s event with a time of 20.66.

Wallace Spearmon, Xavier Carter, Jeremy Wariner and Shawn Crawford are also among the top qualifiers.

In final results in the field, Reese Hoffa took the men’s Shot Put (21.47m), Amy Acuff leaped 1.89m to win the women’s High Jump, while Grace Upshaw (6.74m) won the women’s Long Jump.

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