US rugby star Carlin Isles advanced to the 60-meter semi-finals at the US Indoor Track and Field Championships while Olympians Ashton Eaton and Bernard Lagat faltered.
At the same Portland, Oregon, venue where the world indoor championships will be staged next week, the first eight finals were staged and qualifying heats were conducted in several track events for Saturday’s final day of competition.
Isles, 26, says he hopes to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August with the rugby sevens and athletics squads.
Touted as the world’s fastest rugby player, Isles could play for the US Eagles in Brazil as rugby returns to the Olympic lineup with rugby sevens.
Isles placed 12th in the 60m preliminaries in 6.68 seconds, fourth in his heat but still good enough to be among 16 semi-finalists advancing to Saturday.
Mike Rodgers, a 2010 world indoor 60m runner-up, led the men’s 60m qualifiers in 6.56 seconds, .01 in front of Marvin Bracy, the 2014 world indoor 60m runner-up.
Haitian-born Barbara Pierre led women’s 60m semi-finalists in 7.13 seconds.
Eaton, the reigning world and Olympic decathlon champion and the two-time reigning world indoor heptathlon champion, was sixth in the long jump at 7.60m and next-to-last among 23 60m preliminary runners in 6.80 seconds as he conducted early work toward his bid to defend Olympic gold at Rio.