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U.S. sprinter Fred Kerley calls out track meet for bad starting blocks

This was supposed to be Kerley's first 100m since he stated he'd break Usain Bolt's world record the next time he raced the distance

Fred Kerley Photo by: Kevin Morris

Former world 100m champion Fred Kerley was slated to be a headliner at Sunday’s USATF New York City Grand Prix in the men’s 100m. However, Kerley did not end up racing after he slipped in the starting blocks twice. Despite these mishaps, he chose not to race.

In a post-race interview with Citius Mag, Kerley said that one of his starting block pads was broken, and he had requested new blocks. “I slipped the first time, and then I slipped the second time. I wasn’t about to let it happen a third time,” Kerley said.

He took to Twitter after the race to criticize the World Athletics Continental Tour meet for using “high school level blocks.”

The 100m at the NYC Grand Prix ended up being won by Nigeria’s Udodi Onwuzurike, with a 10.24 second clocking into a -0.7 m/s headwind.

This race was supposed to be Kerley’s first 100m since he publicly stated he’d break Usain Bolt’s world record the next time he raced the distance. Kerley has not competed in the 100m since the Shanghai Diamond League on April 27 and has not yet broken the 10-second mark this season.

Kerley has a personal best of 9.76 seconds from the 2022 World Championships, which he won. He is also the reigning Olympic silver medallist in the 100 metres.

Before the race, Kerley drew attention in the warm-up area at Icahn Stadium, where he was spotted wearing Puma spikes (instead of his sponsor, Asics). It came out after the race that Kerley is now without a sponsor, as Asics announced that they had mutually parted ways with him after reaching a multi-year deal just last year. There has been no official statement on why the sponsorship ended, but Kerley was rumoured to be frustrated with the custom “world champion” spikes the brand made for him.

The 29-year-old plans to compete in the 100m and 200m at the U.S. Olympic Trials in two weeks.

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