Tokyo 2020: Allyson Felix launches quest for fifth Olympics in US trials

Athletics - Allyson Felix
Allyson Felix win the first heat of the women’s 400-metre run at the US Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene on Friday. Image Credit: Reuters

Eugene, United States: Allyson Felix launched her quest to qualify for a fifth consecutive Olympics with a comfortable victory in the opening 400m heats at the US track and field trials on Friday.

The 35-year-old star, the only female athlete in history to win six Olympic track and field gold medals, eased through her heat at Hayward Field in a time of 50.99sec.

That time was outside her season best of 50.66 sec and well off her personal best of 49.26, but was more than good enough to see her into the next round.

“It’s nice to be back,” Felix said afterwards, adding that she was conserving energy ahead of the later rounds.

“It’s my fifth and final Olympic trials so I’m trying to take it all in. Just want to savour it and be smart. I really want to make this team.”

Felix was forced to re-adjust her training regimen last year after the pandemic forced the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics by one year.

Felix, who plans to retire after the Tokyo games, said the postponement had at least allowed her daughter the opportunity be more aware of her mother’s track career.

“It’s really cool. Initially I was so disappointed with everything getting postponed but then I just started to see the silver linings in everything and that’s one of the big ones – she’s so aware and able to enjoy this as well,” Felix said.

The top three finishers will book places on the US team for Tokyo but athletes finishing outside the top three may still travel to Japan as members of the

Spain name NBA star Paul Gasol

Spain, meanwhile, included Pau Gasol in their preliminary squad for Olympics on Saturday, report from Madrid says.

The 40-year-old Gasol was among the 18 players called up by coach Sergio Scariolo to prepare for the Tokyo Games. Only 12 players will make the final squad.

The two-time NBA champion is trying to play in his fifth Olympics. He was included after overcoming a long injury layoff and a successful return to Barcelona this season. He will turn 41 before the games open on July 23.

Gasol’s brother, Marc, also made the list, as did Ricky Rubio. Both were key for Spain when it won the world championship two years ago in China. A total of eight world champions are on the preliminary list. Marc Gasol plays for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Other names in the squad include Rudy Fernandez, Sergio Rodriguez, Alex Abrines, Sergio Llull and newcomer Usman Garuba, who is projected to be a first-round pick in the NBA draft next month.