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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Lyles celebrates 25th with cruise through world qualifying

Eugene, Ore. ( Associated Press) — Noah Lyles celebrated his 25th birthday on Monday by running the fastest time in 200m qualifying at the world championships, a 19.98-second romp that he beat as he played at six other sprinters, waving his finger.

Lyle, last year’s Olympic bronze medalist, was part of a convoy of the world’s best sprinters – including 100 champion Fred Kerley and Shelley-Ann Fraser-Price, Ellen Thompson-Hera and 18-year-old Arianne Knighton – who had previously had circumnavigated. The heat of 200 without much fuss.

Last month, Liles beat Knighton in line at the national level and waved his finger at a teenager labeled as the future of the sport. Knighton didn’t like it, but on this one, starting a night for the final Thursday night, both sprinters cut off the episode — at least for now.

“It’s a real chill,” Knighton said. “There’s no beef or anything. At the end of the day, it’s just a game.”

Lyles was not alone in celebrating a milestone on another clear, mild night for racing in Eugene, where the stands were about three-quarters full.

Belgium’s Nafisatou Thiam raced to her second world championship in the final competition of the heptathlon, 800m, 2 minutes, 13 seconds behind Anouk Vetter of the Netherlands, who goes with two Olympic titles.

American NCAA champion Anna Hall won the bronze medal.

In the triple jump, world record holder Yulimar Rojas won his third world title with a jump of 15.47 m (50 ft, 9 in) over Shaneika Ricketts of Jamaica with a margin of .58 (1 ft, 10 in).

In the men’s steeplechase, Morocco’s Soufian El Bakkli pulled away from the pack to add to the world gold he took in Tokyo last year. After finishing second in 2017 and third in 2019, he now has an absolute medal tally from the world.

Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon won her second title in the 1,500 meters in a time of 3:52.96 seconds. He also has two Olympic titles.

In the high jump, there was less drama in the rematch of last year’s Olympic bout between Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Bershim and Italy’s Gianmarco Tambri, but there was another title for Bershim.

The “Qatari Falcons” flapped their arms to celebrate after clearing 2.35 meters (7–8 ) on their first attempt, but when they passed the season-high 2.37 (7–9), they lost more buried more. Tambari missed all three attempts at a short distance and finished fourth. Barshim has three world championships to his credit, including the one he won three years ago in front of a home crowd in Doha.

Earlier in the day, Gotytom Gebreslase made an Ethiopian sweep in the marathon. After running for miles on Judith Jeptum Korir’s elbow, Gebresles pushed her late and took the win by nine seconds in a championship-record time of 2 hours, 18 minutes, 11 seconds.

Lyles was the only person to break 200 in a 20 without a stress night.

In addition to Knighton, his main competition could be with top-ranked teammate Kenny Bednarek or Kerli, who has been relegated for two nights from the US sweep in the 100. Kerle won his heat in 20.17.

Women in 100 had less than 24 hours to recover from their shows, but no big surprises. Sherrika Jackson, second in last evening’s Jamaica sweep, won her heat in 22.33, while Fraser-Price and Thompson-Hera each finished second in their race.

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