World Athletics 2022: Noah Lyles leads podium sweep
Noah Lyles retained his 200m title as US sprinters secured their second podium sweep while Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce made it a 1-2 finish for Jamaica in the women’s event at the World Championships on Thursday.
Lyles, bronze medallist at the Tokyo Olympics, scorched to victory in 19.31 seconds to become the third-fastest athlete of all time over the distance and break four-time Olympic champion Michael Johnson’s national record.
Five days after Fred Kerley led a US 1-2-3 in the 100m, Lyles produced another dominant performance to clinch gold ahead of Tokyo runner-up Kenny Bednarek in 19.77 while teenager Erriyon Knighton finished third in 19.80.
It is the first time a country has swept both the men’s sprint events in the same year at the World Championships.
“Today is my day – I finally got to do what I dreamt of,” Lyles said. “I felt I got the best start I could possibly ask for. “It’s an immaculate feeling to be on the podium with two fellow Americans. You think, ‘Yeah, America’s gonna do well’, but America’s scooping up medals left and right,” he addded.
The US have collected 22 medals, including seven gold, with three days of competition left. Ethiopia are second with three gold among their eight medals.
It is exactly the kind of dominance the US had hoped for as it hosts the World Championships for the first time.
“This feels great because I’ve been waiting for America to come out and dominate since I got on the platform, especially in the 200,” said Lyles, who was a favourite in Tokyo but finished third.
Lyles’s victory came moments after Jackson gave the Jamaican women another sprint gold, setting a championship record of 21.45 seconds in the 200m – the second fastest time in history – for a first individual world title at Hayward Field.
Silver for Fraser-Pryce
Newly crowned 100m gold medallist Fraser-Pryce missed out on a second sprint double after finishing second in 21.81, claiming her 13th world medal overall, while Britain’s defending champion Dina Asher-Smith took bronze in 22.02.
With a 200 metres gold medal safely pocketed via the second-fastest time in history, Jackson is at the peak of her career and says she will now allow herself to watch a video of her lowest moment.
Jackson was the dominant force in Thursday’s high-quality final, forging clear on the straight to win in 21.45 seconds.
Her time is second only to the late American Florence Griffith-Joyner’s 21.34 from 1988 on the all-time list. Seconds after the win, Usain Bolt tweeted “Brilliant” with two Jamaican flags to represent the evening’s medal haul. Jackson adds this to her silver medal from Sunday night in the 100m, and a pair of bronze medals she won in the 400m at Worlds in 2015 and 2019.
She came to Eugene with the fastest 200m time in 2022 (21.55).
At 28 Jackson is already hugely decorated, but Thursday’s success not only secured that coveted first individual title but will go some way to erasing the pain and embarrassment of the Tokyo Olympics.
With a 100m bronze in her bag, Jackson went into the 200m first-round heats as the third fastest in the field in Tokyo. However she did not make the final. “Finally, I can go watch the video of the Olympic Games heats – I’ve never watched it. I wanted to clear my mind...
“So now that I am world champion and I’ve bounced back from whatever I’ve been to, I can say ‘OK, then finally now I can go watch it’.”
She might also dig out footage of Griffith-Joyner’s Seoul Olympic exploits from six years before the Jamaican was born.
“I’m feeling great. I came out and put on a show. The fastest woman alive (in 200m), the national and championship record, I can’t complain,” Jackson said.
Korir in final
In the men’s 800m, Kenya’s Olympic champion Emmanuel Korir reached the final after producing his best performance of the season in the semi-finals. Algerian Slimane Moula came from behind to win his race in the fastest time of the day.