World Champs Men’s 200 — A Fine WC Debut For Lyles

It was somewhat surprising to see Adam Gemili leading Noah Lyles coming off the bend. (KEVIN MORRIS)

AS SERIOUS AND FOCUSED as he has ever been, Noah Lyles made sure that his first WC appearance would earn him a title—and he delivered on his ambition with a victory over 200m that, by his own exuberant standards, was efficient rather than extraordinary. Ever since he gave up the notion of doubling in Doha—in addition to winning a third consecutive Diamond League 200 title this year he also won the shorter sprint—the 22-year-old phenom has been intent on ensuring his first flourish at a global championship would be golden.

Earlier this season he clocked a best of 19.50 at the Lausanne DL, putting him No. 4 on the all-time list behind only Usain Bolt (19.19), Yohan Blake (19.26) and Michael Johnson (19.32). He didn’t need to venture into that territory to win in the fluctuating, air-conditioned ambience of Khalifa Stadium however, coming through in 19.83. Behind him, Canada’s Rio silver medalist Andre De Grasse (19.95) confirmed his return from longstanding hamstring injury problems by taking another silver, ahead of the hugely consistent Alex Quiñónez (19.98), who became Ecuador’s second WC medalist ever, following the walking triumphs of Jefferson Pérez.

Said the winner, “So many times this year I’ve thought of being world champion you wouldn’t believe it. I have it on my phone, I say it to myself in my car, I think it all the time—and finally to have done it feels unbelievable. I don’t know how many people come to their first World Championships and get the gold, but I’ve done it. I just knew that no matter what position I found myself in I can always find a way to come through. And when I crossed the line I just felt relief. Don’t say I’m the new Bolt. I’m me. If you like me I’ll happily entertain you. It’s my time.”

While Lyles began his celebrations, Briton Adam Gemili, who won 4×1 gold in London 2 years ago, sank down tearfully near the display boards, clutching a bottle of water and the remnants of his ambition after finishing 4th having headed the field into the finishing straight. Lyles, maintaining his form with steely concentration, was the first to come through, and as the line loomed Gemili, who had run a season’s best of 20.03 in the semis, began to tie up. Some 10m from the line, De Grasse, to his left, and Quiñónez, to his right, glided past him before he crossed.

Another oh-so-close for Gemili—who missed out on a medal in ’16 by thousandths of a second—as he finished in a time that exactly matched his semi. A place behind him came Turkey’s defending champion, Ramil Guliyev, whose fitful form here had only earned him a place in lane 9, from where he ran 20.07.

While Lyles became the event’s first American gold medalist since Tyson Gay in ’07, both of his teammates, Kenny Bednarek (a jogging-in 21.50 after pulling up) and Rodney Rowe (20.92) were far off peak form and failed to advance from the heats.


WC MEN’S 200 RESULTS

FINAL

(October 01; wind +0.3) (temperature 77F/25C; humidity 53%)

1. Noah Lyles (US) 19.83;

2. Andre De Grasse (Can) 19.95;

3. Alex Quiñónez (Ecu) 19.98;

4. Adam Gemili (GB) 20.03;

5. Ramil Guliyev (Tur) 20.07;

6. Aaron Brown (Can) 20.10;

7. Zhenye Xie (Chn) 20.14;

8. Kyle Greaux (Tri) 20.39

(best-ever mark-for-place: =6, 7)

Lanes: 2. Xie; 3. Brown; 4. Quiñonez; 5. Lyles; 6. Gemili; 7. De Grasse; 8. Greaux; 9. Guliyev

Reaction times: 0.158 Gemili; 0.161 Xie; 0.163 Brown; 0.164 Guliyev; 0.168 Lyles & De Grasse; 0.170 Greaux; 0.189 Quiñónez

HEATS

(September 29)

I(0.5)–1. Gemili 20.06; 2. Guliyev 20.27; 3. Taymir Burnet (Hol) 20.37; 4. Divine Oduduru (Ngr) 20.40;

5. Paulo André de Oliveira (Bra) 20.75; 6. Rodney Rowe (US) 20.92; 7. Fode Sissoko (Mli) 21.30;… dq—Terrance Jones (Bah).

II(0.5)–1. Xie 20.20; 2. Zharnel Hughes (GB) 20.24; 3. Anaso Jobodwana (SA) 20.35;

4. Yuki Koike (Jpn) 20.46; 5. Fahad Mohamed Al-Subaie (Sau) 20.51; 6. José Salazar (ElS) 21.64; 7. Mohd Noor Firdaus Idris (Bru) 21.99.

III(0.8)–1. Quiñónez 20.08; 2. Yohan Blake (Jam) 20.23; 3. Alex Wilson (Swi) 20.40;

4. Aldemir Gomes da Silva (Bra) 20.44; 5. Chun-Han Yang (Tai) 20.80; 6. Noureddine Hadid (Leb) 20.84 NR; 7. Antonio Infantino (Ita) 20.89; 8. Gregory Bradai (PYF) 22.79 PR.

IV(0.7)–1. Greaux 20.19; 2. Yancarlos Martinez (DR) 20.47; 3. Reynier Mena (Cub) 20.52;

4. Jeremy Dodson (AmS) 20.60; 5. Bernardo Baloyes (Col) 20.64; 6. Emmanuel Eseme (Cam) 20.87; 7. Kenny Bednarek (US) 21.50.

V(1.0)–1. Brown 20.10; 2. Miguel Francis (GB) 20.11; 3. Rasheed Dwyer (Jam) 20.37; 4. Eseosa Desalu (Ita) 20.43;

5. Jun Yamashita (Jpn) 20.62; 6. Abdulaziz Salim Mohamed (Qat) 20.75; 7. Emmanuel Arowolo (Ngr) 21.07;… dq—Jeffrey Vanan (Sur).

VI(0.9)–1. De Grasse 20.20; 2. Clarence Munyai (SA) 20.29; 3. Serhiy Smelyk (Ukr) 20.39;

4. Sydney Siame (Zam) 20.58; 5. Kirara Shiraishi (Jpn) 20.62; 6. Steven Müller (Ger) 20.69; 7. Sibusiso Matsenjwa (Swa) 20.85; 8. Ahmed Al-Yaari (Yem) 22.37 NR.

VII(0.2)–1. Jereem Richards (Tri) 20.23; 2. Lyles 20.26; 3. Brendon Rodney (Can) 20.38; 4. Andre Ewers (Jam) 20.41;

5. Mouhamadou Fall (Fra) 20.63; 6. Guy Maganga Gorra (Gab) 20.74.

SEMIS

(September 30)

I(-0.3)–1. Gemili 20.03; 2. Guliyev 20.16; 3. Brown 20.20;

4. Richards 20.28; 5. Dwyer 20.54; 6. Munyai 20.55; 7. Smelyk 20.55;… dnc—Wilson.

II(0.1)–1. Lyles 19.86; 2. Quiñónez 19.95; 3. Xie 20.03;

4. Martínez 20.28; 5. Rodney 20.34; 6. Ewers 20.61; 7. Desalu 20.73;… dnc—Francis.

III(-0.1)–1. De Grasse 20.08; 2. Greaux 20.24;

3. Hughes 20.30; 4. Burnet 20.34 PR; 5. Jobodwana 20.34; 6. Blake 20.37; 7. Mena 20.61; 8. Oduduru 20.84. ◻︎

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