By Gene Cherry
(Reuters) – World 100m silver medallist Christian Coleman will go for a sprint double at July’s U.S. championships, setting the stage for a run at gold in both at Doha’s world championships and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, his manager told Reuters.
“He is definitely doubling,” Emanuel Hudson said in a telephone interview.
“Christian Coleman always has considered himself a 100-200 metres athlete,” Hudson added in revealing the world 60m record holder’s plans to go for his first double on the global stage.
“The norm is he would be running the 100 and 200. So ideally he is going to run both at the Olympic Games.”
A long 2017 collegiate season before Coleman turned professional led the sprinter to contest only the 100m at London’s world championships, even though he made the U.S. team in both sprints.
Then last season hamstring problems curtailed his 200m plans.
The decision to double this time, along with world and Olympic implications, assures the U.S. nationals/world trials, scheduled for Des Moines, Iowa, of a major showdown in both events.
World champion Justin Gatlin and indoor bronze medallist Ronnie Baker will likely be Coleman’s opponents in the 100m and Diamond League winner Noah Lyles in the 200m.
Lyles has not totally closed the door on doubling, though.
“As of right now, the plan is the 200,” Lyles’ coach Lance Brauman told Reuters.
“But all options will stay on the table just in case.”
Coleman, the 2017 U.S. collegiate double sprint champion, is planning to compete in both events on the Diamond League circuit before chasing the U.S. double, his manager said.
The 23-year-old will open his Diamond League season with a 100m headliner against Chinese world indoor silver medallist Su Bingtian in Shanghai on May 18 and is confirmed for a 100m at the Prefontaine Classic near San Francisco on June 30.
Although Coleman missed several races with hamstring problems before roaring back with the year’s fastest 100 (a personal best 9.79 seconds) in 2018, “I don’t think that (the double) will be a problem,” his manager said.
A final check at the Florida Relays, where Coleman ran the 4×200m and 4×400m relays, showed he was ready.
“He’s healthy. We are not putting him in a whole bunch of meets and his last likely race, in Lausanne, will be 20 days before the U.S. championships,” Hudson said.
Coleman’s 200m best of 19.85 seconds in 2017 is two-tenths of a second slower than Lyles’ top time, but Hudson is expecting big things this season.
“Since then (2017) he has broken the world record in the 60 metres and run a personal best in the 100,” the manager said.
“I think his 200 metres time is going to be something off the charts.”
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Christian Radnedge)