Lyles: Bolt not wrong to doubt championship mettle

By Sports Desk July 28, 2019
Noah Lyles and Usain Bolt. Noah Lyles and Usain Bolt.

Rising United States sprinting talent Noah Lyles has admitted legendary Jamaica sprinter Usain Bolt was right to question his championship mettle but hopes to silence all doubters at the upcoming IAAF World Championships.

The 22-year-old Lyles has recently featured prominently among the handful of names labeled as potentially next in line to inherit the throne vacated by the big Jamaican.

 To add fuel to the fire, Lyles recently clocked an impressive 19.50, the fourth-fastest time in the event’s history, in Lausanne, Switzerland last month.  While admitting that Lyles was unquestionably a huge talent, Bolt insisted he was waiting to see such performances replicated on the big stage.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him run, I’ve seen him compete,” Bolt told the New York Times.

“Last season he was doing a lot of good things, this season he has started off good. But as I said, it all comes down to the championship. Is he confident to come into a race after running three races and show up? For me, he has shown that he has talent, but when the championship comes, we will see what happens,” he added.

Lyles is yet to compete at a major championship and is also a threat over 100m but dropped the event from his schedule at the United States national championship to ensure full focus on the 200m.

“Sounds about right to me, sounds like my thoughts exactly,” Lyles said when shown the Bolt’s comments.

“It’s why I decided to run one event this year.”

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    The 22-year-old American sprinter has been one of a handful of prominent stars to emerge from the pack as up and coming athletes chase the legacy of Jamaica sprint king Usain Bolt.  Despite being universally acknowledged as a tremendous talent and winning his first major title earlier this year, which was the 200m at the Doha World Championships, for now, Lyles remains firmly in the Jamaican's big shadow.

    In addition to boasting eight Olympics and 11 World Championship gold medals, it is Bolt who still holds the records for the fastest times ever clocked over both the 100m (9.58) and 200m (19.19).  The American has already at least broken one of Bolt’s records in pursuit.  Earlier this year, the young sprinter broke Bolt’s meet record at the Paris Diamond League.  Lyles clocked 19.65, eclipsing the Jamaican's previous time of 19.73.  With the Olympics on the horizon, the American has much bigger hopes, well bigger dreams in any case.

    “I’m very excited for Tokyo. Japan is one of my favourite countries outside the US. I’ve got big plans,” Lyles told Olympic.org.

    “I’ve got a dream that I ran 9.41 in the semis at the Olympics,” he added.

    The athlete must, of course, secure himself a spot on the United States national team before having a chance to chase his dream.

     

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  • Bolt never worried Lyles would break world record Bolt never worried Lyles would break world record

    Retired Jamaica sprint superstar Usain Bolt has insisted he was never worried about rising United States track star Noah Lyles eclipsing his 200m world record at the Doha World Championships.

    The 22-year-old American had a stellar season, even breaking Bolt’s meet record at the Paris Diamond League meet.  On the back of several strong performances to claim the US 200m national title, including an effortless win at the US national trials, speculation grew that Lyles would go after the world’s best mark of 19.19 set in 2009.

    In the end, Lyles was triumphant and claimed the 200m title in 19.83, while more than good enough for gold, the time was slower than some expected.

    “I knew he wasn’t going to get it. It’s not easy. A lot of people see it and feel like you show up and you just run fast,” Bolt told NBC Sports Olympic Talk.

    “For me, throughout the season, I figured out what I needed to do. I didn’t run races because I wanted to run fast. I ran races to figure out how I needed to run the corner, my technique I needed to fix. If you followed me through my career, I didn’t run a lot throughout the season. I trained. I ran and competed, figured out what I needed to improve, then did that [repeated that process] over again. That’s what I did to perfect my race [for the championships].”

     

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