EUGENE, OREGON: Noah Lyles defended his world 200m title in electric fashion in a second US sprint clean sweep on Thursday, while Shericka Jackson thwarted Jamaican teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s bid for a sprint double in the women’s race.
Close on the heels of Fred Kerley leading a 1-2-3 for Team USA in the men’s 100m, Lyles made no mistake over the longer sprint, racing home in 19.31 seconds in Eugene.
It was the fourth fastest 200m ever run: Only Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake have run faster.
Lyles’s teammates Kenny Bednarek and teenager Erriyon Knighton took silver and bronze in 19.77 and 19.80sec respectively, to repeated chants of “U-S-A” from home fans at Hayward Field.
“It’s like being a rock star!” Lyles said of performing in front of a packed crowd in Eugene, as opposed to the empty stands in the Tokyo Olympics where he finished third and admitted to having mental health issues.
“I was true in form for a world record, but I am okay with the American record,” Lyles said after bettering Michael Johnson’s previous best by one-hundredth of a second.
“To be honest, every step was purposeful, going out with intent to win.”
There were similar fireworks in the women’s 200m on a balmy, clear night with perfect conditions for sprinting.
Jackson set a championship record of 21.45sec, the second fastest time ever run over the distance, for the first individual world title of her career. Only the late Florence Griffith-Joyner, whose 1988 world record of 21.34sec still stands, has run faster.
“I am feeling great once I came out and put on the show,” said 28-year-old Jackson.
“The fastest woman alive, the national and championships record, I cannot complain!“
Newly-crowned 100m gold medalist Fraser-Pryce took silver in 21.81sec.
But there was no Jamaican clean sweep, as there had been in the blue riband event, as defending champion Dina Asher-Smith of Britain claimed bronze in 22.02sec.
Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, the third part of Jamaica’s 100m sweep, eventually came in seventh in 22.39sec.
Fraser-Pryce hinted that any retirement plans, initially mulled over in 2020/21, were definitely on hold.
“I really think I owe it to myself to see how far I can go as a sprinter and just continue to transcend what I thought was possible,” she said.
“For women, especially after having a baby and after turning 30, you hear ... it’s time to pack it up.
“But you know I’m 35, going on 36, and to be here still competing at that level it’s just a blessing.
“I’m really looking forward to 2023 and the worlds in Budapest. And then after that we take it to 2024 for Paris!“
The lineup for Saturday’s 800m final was decided after three tight semifinals.
The Kenyan trio of Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir, Wyclife Kinyamal Kisasy and Emmanuel Wanyonyi will take on the dangerous Algerian pair of Slimane Moula and Djamel Sedjati, with Canada’s Marco Arop, France’s Gabriel Tual and Australian Peter Bol completing the eight-man field.
Indian hopes for a world javelin medal remained on course as Neeraj Chopra sailed through qualification.
Chopra became the first Olympic track and field gold medalist from India when he won at last year’s Tokyo Games, and went straight through in Eugene with an effort of 88.39m.
Joining him in Saturday’s final are a host of heavyweights including Czech Jakub Vadlejch, Grenada’s world leader Anderson Peters and Germany’s Julian Weber.
Other Olympic champions coasting through rounds were American women’s 800m gold medalist Athing Mu, along with the 2019 world podium: Uganda’s Halimah Nakaayi and Americans Raevyn Rogers and Ajee Wilson.
Portugal’s Pedro Pichardo likewise had no problems in the men’s triple jump.
But there was no place for four-time champion Christian Taylor of the US, who won the triple jump in Rio in 2016 but had to sit out Tokyo with injury.
Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, after the shock disappointment of losing the 1500m to Briton Jake Wightman, gave himself the chance of a second medal by advancing to Sunday’s 5000m final.
Also progressing were Olympic champion Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda, and reigning world gold medallist Muktar Edris and Ethiopian teammate Selemon Barega.