USATF Men’s 200 — Lyles Makes His Point

Noah Lyles said he was “pointing at all those people who kept doubting me all year.” (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

HAVING WON each of his four 200 finals since taking bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, Noah Lyles, though he had the Wild Card in his back pocket, fought hard to defend his U.S. crown on the track where he will defend his world title next month.

The most effective closer in the business when he is on, Lyles hauled himself from 4th entering the straight to 1st some 4m out from the finish to cross just in front of teen sensation Erriyon Knighton, 19.67–19.69.

Fred Kerley, two days after his commanding tilt to win the 100 crown, rolled in 3rd in 19.83 ahead of Tokyo silver medalist Kenny Bednarek (19.87) and Lyles’ younger brother Josephus (19.93 PR).

Noah showed he meant business throughout, putting up the fastest heat and semi times, 19.95 and 19.81 without extending himself to the line on those runs.

Knighton’s 20.08 heat winner was the No. 8 American Junior performance ever and his 19.97 semi winner rated as the No. 6 all-time U20 performance globally. Only WJR holder Knighton and Usain Bolt have sprinted faster as Juniors.

Lining up in lane 4 to the left of Noah Lyles in 5, Knighton essayed a rocket start, with Josephus Lyles (lane 6) and Bednarek (9) also out ahead of Noah.

Knighton closed the stagger on Lyles by about 60m and strode past 100 some 2m ahead at 10.31. Bednarek held 2nd (10.39) from Josephus (10.43), Noah (10.44) and Matthew Boling (10.45).

“I felt that I did well until he ran up on me,” Lyles said later. “I was like, ‘Alright, don’t panic. You know, we’ve been in this situation 150 times before.’

“I saw how he came off the turn. I felt that I came off the turn a little long in one of my steps, but everything else was good. I felt powerful. I felt controlled. And that was the key to that whole race. You know, I was just gonna wind him back in step by step. And there came to that point where I knew that I was gonna overtake him and I knew the race was over.”

That point came some 96m further down the straight, and as Lyles drew even, he turned to his left and pistol-pointed at the younger sprinter with his right hand.

“To be honest, I risked it for the biscuit,” Lyles explained with a chuckle. “But to be honest, it was a sign. It was, ‘I’m pointing at all those people who kept doubting me all year and all last year,’ everybody who keeps saying that, ‘Oh, you know, he’s out of the picture.’

“You know, even NBC don’t wanna talk about me no more. That’s cool though. But I’ll let you know. I’ll put you back in check every time.”

For his part, Knighton, the Tokyo 4th-placer tersely declared his future plan to be, “Just come back and win, the job’s not finished. It’s never finished.”

Kerley, on the team in both sprints, seemed to get a kick out of his rivals’ intensity. Laughing, he said, “I feel good, I feel blessed. On to get the double.”


MEN’S 200 RESULTS

FINAL (June 26; wind –0.3)

1. Noah Lyles (adi) 19.67

(5.96, 4.48 [10.44], 4.54 [14.98], 4.69) (10.44/9.23);

2. Erriyon Knighton (adi) 19.69 (x, 2 WJ, AJ)

(5.85, 4.46 [10.31], 4.55 [14.86], 4.83) (10.31/9.38);

3. Fred Kerley (Nik) 19.83

(5.93, 4.59 [10.52], 4.58 [15.10], 4.73) (10.52/9.31);

4. Kenny Bednarek (Nik) 19.87

(5.91, 4.48 [10.39], 4.59 [14.98], 4.89) (10.39/9.48)

5. Josephus Lyles (adi/Pure) 19.93

(5.85, 4.57 [10.43], 4.63 [15.06], 4.87) (10.43/9.50);

6. Matthew Boling (Ga) 20.15

(5.94, 4.51 [10.45], 4.69 [15.14], 5.01) (10.45/9.70);

7. Kyree King (Nik) 20.19

(5.90, 4.59 [10.49], 4.71 [15.20], 4.99) (10.49/9.70);

8. Javonte’ Harding (NCAT) 20.31

(5.96, 4.65 [10.61], 4.76 [15.37], 4.94) (10.61/9.50).

(best-ever mark-for-place: =4, 5, 8)

HEATS (June 25)

I(1.1)–1. Knighton 20.08 (x, 9 AJ);

2. J. Lyles 20.13; 3. King 20.24; 4. Kendal Williams (adi) 20.37; 5. Elijah Morrow (AthTx) 20.53; 6. Elijah Dryer (Ms) 21.40; 7. Kasaun James (USC) 22.41; 8. Micaiah Harris (Tx) 44.68.

II(1.1)–1. N. Lyles 19.95; 2. Isiah Young (Nik) 20.13; 3. Brandon Carnes (unat) 20.21; 4. Demetrius Jackson (Al) 20.76; 5. Lawrence Johnson (Wi) 21.19; 6. Jaron Flournoy (Nik) 21.29;… dnf—Jacory Patterson (Fl).

III(1.4)–1. Christian Coleman (Nik) 20.13; 2. Kerley 20.29; 3. Robert Gregory (TCU) 20.41; 4. David Dunlap (NnAz) 20.47; 5. Cravont Charleston (Tracksm) 20.57; 6. Marqueze Washington (unat) 20.71; 7. Cameron Rose (Clem) 21.05.

IV(-0.4)–1. Bednarek 20.10; 2. Boling 20.11; 3. Harding 20.42; 4. Evan Miller (SC) 20.60; 5. Demarius Smith (Ok) 20.69; 6. Jeremiah Curry (SFA) 20.72; 7. Courtney Lindsey (TxT) 20.83; 8. JP Vaught (Centre) 20.92.

SEMIS (June 26)

I(1.2)–1. N. Lyles 19.81; 2. Kerley 20.09; 3. Boling 20.14; 4. Harding 20.23 (20.226); 5. Carnes 20.42; 6. Charleston 20.50; 7. Williams 20.79;… dnc—Coleman.

II(1.7)–1. Knighton 19.97 (x, 6 WJ; x, 7 AJ);

2. J. Lyles 20.04; 3. King 20.05; 4. Bednarek 20.06; 5. Young 20.23 (20.229); 6. Morrow 20.37; 7. Dunlap 20.53; 8. Gregory 20.56.

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