U.S. runner Allyson Felix misses out on world spot in 400 meters, finishes sixth

DES MOINES, Iowa — Allyson Felix downplayed any hint of disappointment.

This performance wasn’t about the now, but a year from now for the Tokyo Games.

In that respect, the six-time Olympic gold medalist feels on the right track. Maybe even ahead of schedule, eight months after having a baby.

Felix finished sixth in the 400-meter final at the U.S. championships Saturday and missed out on qualifying in an individual event for worlds for the first time as a professional.

“I knew that it was a less-than-ideal situation,” Felix said. “But being in this environment and being back in the final, it kind of gets the juices flowing. It’s going to be a lot easier going into next year and getting a full year of training.”

Felix fell behind early in the race and couldn’t make up ground. Shakima Wimbley won in 50.21 seconds, with Kendall Ellis taking second and Wadeline Jonathas third. Felix finished in 51.94.

After it was over, Felix went over to the stands and picked up her daughter, Camryn. Only 32 weeks into her pregnancy, Felix gave birth to Camryn on Nov. 28 in an emergency cesarean section after tests showed the baby’s heart rate had dropped to dangerous levels.

Gradually, she’s worked her way back. The 33-year-old Felix can still make the U.S. relay team for the world championships in Doha, Qatar, this fall. She’s made every world outdoor team since 2003.

Briefly: Fred Kerley beat Michael Norman for the men’s 400 title. Paralympian Blake Leeper was fifth and has a chance to make the relay squad. Leeper was born with both legs missing below the knee. He said the IAAF, track and field’s world governing body, hasn’t recognized his times for much of the season because it claims his height on his blades disqualifies him against able-bodied runners. Leeper said he’s been running at the height the IAAF currently has issues with for years.

“When people say I have the advantage with the blades … I tell people to walk a mile in my legs,” Leeper said. “I’m making the best out of my situation.”

Pole vaulter Sam Kendricks set the American record by clearing 19 feet, 10½ inches (6.06 meters). As a reward, Kendricks had his fellow competitors jump on top of him on the mat.

Pat Graham is an Associated Press writer.

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/sports/article/U-S-runner-Allyson-Felix-misses-out-on-world-14190813.php.

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