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Tokyo Olympics: Adam Gemili injured moments before 200m heats as US teen Erriyon Knighton sends warning

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Britain’s Adam Gemili pulled up injured in the men’s 200m heats after feeling an injury leaving the blocks, and he limped around the track to finish more than a minute behind the rest. In an emotional interview Gemili revealed his hamstring went in his final warm-up before the race. 

Gemili’s career has been hampered by fitness issues but there was hope here in Tokyo that he might be able to rediscover the form which took him within a few milliseconds of a medal in Rio. Instead he felt it as soon as the start gun went and made a lonely walk home. Fellow Briton Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake went out in heat six running 20.56.

“The last run, literally the last run before I came into the call room, the last blocks start and I felt it go,” Gemili said. “It’s my hamstring. I had to try but I’m in so much pain right now – I said to my physio, just strap it up and let me at least try to push out but I can tell straight away. You don’t just cramp up when you sprint it was a tear. I cant believe this has happened.”

Gemili’s heat was won by the teenage sensation Erriyon Knighton, who broke Usain Bolt’s under-20 record at the US trails in 19.81 sec, and he jogged the final 50m here to post the most casual 20.55 you could imagine. 

Knighton, who at 17 is the USA’s youngest track and field Olympian for more than half a century, will face stiffest competition from his own teammates: Noah Lyles won that US trial final in 19.74 and the reigning world champion eased up early too to clock 20.18. The fastest time of the session was fellow American Kenny Bednarek who has been in flying form this year, and he won heat six in 20.01.

Canada’s Andre de Grasse won bronze in the 100m final on Sunday night but looked a little weary from his exertions, finishing third in heat three won by Qatar’s Femi Ogunode in 20.37. Ogunode will be a threat to the American trio, as will Jamaica’s Rasheed Dwyer who won heat two, but USA are undoubtedly the team to beat. 

Watch: What inspired gymnast Bryony Page to become an Olympic athlete?

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