(Reuters) – Noah Lyles became the fourth fastest runner ever at 200 meters when the American roared to victory in a sizzling 19.50 seconds at the Lausanne Diamond League meeting on Friday.
The time was the eighth fastest ever and the best in seven years.
Only world record holder Usain Bolt (19.19), fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake (19.26) and American Michael Johnson (19.32) have run faster.
“My socks keep yelling at me: ‘It’s time to go Plus Ultra'” the 21-year-old had tweeted before the race, and did he ever.
Bouncing back from a rare loss at the distance to compatriot Michael Norman last month in Rome, Lyles showed he will be the man to beat in October’s world championships in Doha.
“The track here is burning up,” said Lyles, who blistered his previous best of 19.65 seconds.
Typically a late charger, Lyles attacked early this time.
“It was a good, well executed race,” he told reporters. “It was about getting out strong.
“There is nothing better than seeing the accomplishments of what you have put in,” he said of the hard work he and coach Lance Brauman have done lately.
“Each year I’m making a huge jump. I’m very satisfied.”
Ecuador’s Alex Quinonez took second in a national record 19.87 and Canadian Olympic silver medalist Andre de Grasse was third (19.92).
Jamaican double Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce rocketed to victory in the women’s 100m, clocking 10.74 seconds to easily defeat British European winner Dina Asher-Smith (10.91).
The men’s race went to evergreen world champion Justin Gatlin.
The 37-year-old American, who ran 9.87 seconds at Stanford on Sunday, gained more confidence with a 9.92 performance for a comfortable victory over compatriot Mike Rodgers (10.01).
SUPER POLE VAULT
Along with Lyles’s 200m, the meeting sparked 2019-leading performances in the men’s pole vault and 1,500 meters.
Polish world silver medalist Piotr Lisek conquered a talented field in the pole vault with a national-record 6.01m.
World champion Sam Kendricks took second in a season-best 5.95m with French world-record holder Renaud Lavillenie and American-born Swede Mondo Duplantis tying for third (5.81).
Kenyan world silver medalist Timothy Cheruiyot seized the yearly lead in the 1,500m with a quick 3:28.77 with Norwegian runner-up Jakob Ingebrigtsen setting a personal best of 3:30.16.
In the men’s 5,000m, Ethiopian Hagos Gebrhiwet slowed at the bell thinking he had won and finally stopped running.
But there was one more lap to go and countryman Yomif Kejelcha, the world indoor mile record holder, raced to victory in 13:00.56. Compatriot Selemon Barega collected second in 13:01.99.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; editing by Clare Fallon)