By Steve Keating
DOHA (Reuters) – Noah Lyles clocked the top time in the 200 meters semi-finals on Monday, signaling the American is the man to beat for world championship gold.
The affable Lyles, switching back to his normal hair color after sporting silver in the heats, was all business and in complete control right from the gun before easing across the line in a time 19.86 seconds.
Fourth on the world all-time list behind Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake and compatriot Michael Johnson, the silky smooth Lyles has had the look of that quality in Doha with Ecuador’s Alex Quinonez the only other runner to dip under 20 second by clocking 19.95.
Britain’s Adam Gemili also confirmed his medal ambitions by winning his heat in 20.03 ahead of Turkey’s defending champion Ramil Guliyev.
Canadian Andre De Grasse, bronze medallist in the 100m and silver medal winner behind Usain Bolt at the 2016 Rio Olympics, continued to show he is back in superb form after two years battling injury by coming home first in his heat in 20.08.
The men’s final is scheduled for Tuesday.
(Editing by Ken Ferris)