February 19, 2018 / 3:00 AM / 10 months ago

Athletics: Coleman world record highlights U.S. indoor champs

(Reuters) - Christian Coleman made sure the world record was his this time.

Feb 10, 2018; Boston, Massachussetts, USA; Christian Coleman (USA) poses after winning the 60m in 6.46 during the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix at Reggie Lewis Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

After being denied ratification last month for the fastest ever 60 meters when he clocked 6.37 seconds in a race that did not use electronic starting blocks, the world outdoor silver medalist ran even faster on Sunday.

Turning on the afterburners following his trademark fast start, Coleman breezed home in 6.34 seconds at the U.S. indoor track and field championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The time wiped out Maurice Greene’s 20-year-old record of 6.39 seconds, a mark almost matched by runner-up Ronnie Baker, who crossed the line in 6.40 seconds.

“It feels like a blur,” the 21-year-old Coleman told reporters when asked to describe what it felt like to run that fast.

“My start was decent. When I transitioned, I stood up, and I felt as good as I’ve ever felt. I just kept running to the tape. For it to be the world record was pretty special.”

The fastest man in the world last year time-wise, he took silver in the 100m at last year’s world championships in London, finishing ahead of world record holder Usain Bolt.

Coleman will lead a talented American team to next month’s world indoor championships with the top-two finishers in each event in New Mexico securing berths for Birmingham, England.

“I just love racing in the big races, when everybody’s watching,” Coleman said. “I just flourish in those moments. It’s not really in my personality, but when the lights are on, it just comes out.”

Along with his world record, five other season-best performances were established in the rarefied air of Albuquerque, which aids sprinters but slows distance runners.

Chief among them was Sharika Nelvis’s U.S. record 60m hurdles time of 7.70 seconds as she defeated world outdoor record holder Kendra Harrison by two-hundredths of a second.

Olympic and world long jump Brittney Reese gave the Americans another big hope for gold in Birmingham, twice leaping 6.68m, the best mark in the world this year.

Up-and-coming Katie Nageotte added another season-best in the pole vault, soaring 4.91m to defeat world silver medalist Sandi Morris (4.86m). Nageotte then made three unsuccessful attempts at a world record 5.04m.

The women’s 60m and 400m also produced the leading times of 2018.

Courtney Okolo (51.16) edged out Shakima Wimbley by one hundredth of a second in the 400m and Javianne Oliver won the 60m in 7.02 seconds.

Shelby Houlihan and Paul Chelimo added their second titles of the meeting, winning the 1,500m in 4:13.07 and 3:42.91 respectively.

World indoor high jump champion Vashti Cunningham also qualified for the team, with the daughter of former NFL quarterback Randall Cunningham clearing 1.97m.

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by John O'Brien

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