Noah Lyles takes gold in 200m at Qatar

The Korea Times - - SPORTS -

DOHA (AP) — Gold medal se­cured, Noah Lyles took a lap around the sparsely filled sta­dium with a big de­ci­sion weigh­ing on him — vanilla or Oreo milk­shake?

He just couldn’t de­cide be­tween the two fla­vors as a re­ward after win­ning the 200-me­ter ti­tle Tues­day night at the world cham­pi­onships.

“That’s how I’m go­ing to cel­e­brate my sea­son,” Lyles said.

And what a sea­son it was for the charis­matic, fun-lov­ing 22-year-old Lyles, who’s pro­vid­ing just the boost track and field needs in this postBolt era. Just don’t re­fer to him as the new Us­ain Bolt, though.

“I’m me,” said Lyles, who dyed his hair sil­ver for the big oc­ca­sion. “And if you like me, I’ll hap­pily en­ter­tain you. It’s my time.”

He cer­tainly took a lit­tle bit of time to take over the race.

Trail­ing go­ing around the bend, Lyles kicked it into gear to pass Adam Gemili of Bri­tain. Lyles fin­ished in a time of 19.83 sec­onds to beat an ex­hausted An­dre De Grasse of Canada by 0.12 sec­onds. Alex Quinonez of Ecuador was third.

Even be­hind that late, Lyles, who grew up in Alexan­dria, Vir­ginia, wasn’t the least bit con­cerned.

“It was one of those sit­u­a­tions where I knew I had to get out and I saw they were mov­ing on the turn and I just started pump­ing my arms on the turn. I knew I could sling off and grab the mo­men­tum,” Lyles ex­plained. “Be­cause no mat­ter where I am in the race, I will al­ways be able to come back.”

After the race, the party was on. Lyles waved the Amer­i­can flag, kneeled a few times and kissed the track. It was rather sub­dued for the sprinter known for his dy­namic dance moves.

Per­haps he’s sav­ing his best stuff for 10 months from now at the Tokyo Games.

At this ver­sion of the cham­pi­onships, he threw his en­ergy into win­ning the 200.

Now that the box is checked, he’s think­ing big­ger: Run­ning the 100 and 200 in Tokyo. It could be quite a show­down with team­mate Chris­tian Cole­man, who won the 100 at worlds and then skipped the 200. He plans to dou­ble as well. Same with De Grasse, who did both at worlds and took bronze in the 100.

“I will be ready when Tokyo 2020 comes,” De Grasse said.

As a re­minder of his goal — to win gold — Lyles put it into his phone and mut­tered it to him­self over and over while he was driv­ing. When it fi­nally hap­pened, he didn’t know how to re­ally re­act.

“It’s like some­thing you’ve imag­ined so many times in your head that one you ac­tu­ally ac­tive it it’s like I thought, ‘We al­ready did this?”’ Lyles said. “Fi­nally, to have done it feels un­be­liev­able. It does feel good that I’m at the end of the sea­son and we came out with the ul­ti­mate vic­tory, which is a gold medal.”

AP-Yon­hap

Noah Lyles of the United States crosses the fin­ish line to win the men’s 200 me­ter fi­nals at the World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships in Doha, Qatar, Tues­day.

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