Berian upset as crash row flares at US trials

Berian, a rising star in the 800m who was working in a McDonald's restaurant two years ago, was narrowly beaten in the final stretch at Hayward Field, finishing second behind Clayton Murphy.

Clayton Murphy (left), winner, and Boris Berian, in second place, celebrate after men's 800-meter final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.   -  AP

World indoor 800 meters champion Boris Berian suffered an upset defeat at the US Olympic trials here Monday as a dramatic collision in the women's two-lap race left two of the front-runners in tears.

Berian, a rising star in the 800m who was working in a McDonald's restaurant two years ago, was narrowly beaten in the final stretch at Hayward Field, finishing second behind Clayton Murphy.

Murphy came home in 1 minute 44.76 seconds, just ahead of Berian who was second in 1:44.92 with Charles Jock third in 1:45.48. All three runners booked their tickets to Rio in the performance. Despite the defeat Berian was delighted to have secured his Olympic qualification.

"All this came so fast, it's just amazing right now," Berian said.

Murphy's victory was the biggest surprise in the fourth day of action but was overshadowed by controversy in the women's 800m as a final-bend collision knocked Alysia Montano and Brenda Martinez out of contention. Montano appeared to clip Martinez from behind with around 150 meters to go.

Martinez was knocked off balance and out of contention as Kate Grace raced clear to win in 1:59.10 ahead of Ajee Wilson and Chrishuna Williams.

Montano, 30, meanwhile had collapsed sobbing to the track before crossing the line in tears, as she digested the end of her dream of competing in Rio four years after she was denied a bronze at the 2012 London Games.

Martinez said the incident had been triggered after she was knocked off balance from behind. "I don't know, I got clipped from behind. I just tried catching my fall but by then they were already making another gear, another move and I just couldn't regain my composure," she told reporters, tears welling.