By the time Noah Lyles took to his blocks for the 200m at Lausanne’s Athletissima on Friday (5), three meeting records had already been broken at the eighth IAAF Diamond League fixture of 2019.
To match the meeting-record-breaking feats of Timothy Cheruiyot in the 1500m, Pitor Lisek in the pole vault and Salwa Eid Naser in the 400m, Lyles would have to improve on a mark set by Usain Bolt in 2012, one of the great Jamaican’s most successful seasons.
But the two-time IAAF Diamond League champion was unfazed. If anything, he was highly motivated after a narrow loss in Rome – albeit in a swift 19.72 – in what was his opening 200m race of the year.
This time, there was no beating Lyles.
The 21-year-old had a solid start and led from Andre De Grasse at half way, 10.2 to 10.3. But it’s the second half where Lyles excels and he produced a stunning final 100 metres to charge through the line in 19.50 (-0.1m/s).
Not only did it take 0.08 off Bolt’s meeting record, it also moved Lyles to fourth on the world all-time list behind Bolt, Yohan Blake and Michael Johnson.
In second, Alex Quinonez improved his own Ecuadorian record with 19.87 while De Grasse finished in 19.92, just 0.03 ahead of fellow Canadian Aaron Brown.
“The track here is burning up,” said Lyles. “I’m feeling good here. Me and my coach have been working really hard. I know I’m running exactly how my coach wants me to run. It was a good, well-executed race. It was about getting out strong.
“There’s nothing better than seeing the accomplishments of what you have put in. Each year I’m making a huge jump. I’m very satisfied. It’s time for the next race.”
Just minutes earlier, Timothy Cheruiyot had enthralled the packed-out Stade Olympique de la Pontaise by taking almost a second off the meeting record in the men’s 1500m.
The world silver medallist sat right behind the pacemakers as they brought the Kenyan through 800m in 1:49.8 and 1000m in 2:17.7. As he reached the bell, Cheruiyot led by more than a second from world indoor champion Samuel Tefera.
European champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen came through strong on the final lap, but Cheruiyot could not be caught, winning in 3:28.77 to break the previous meeting record of 3:29.51 set by Ali Saidi Sief in 2001.
Ingebrigtsen finished second in a European U20 record of 3:30.16 with Ayanleh Souleiman finishing third (3:30.79) and Filip Ingebrigtsen fourth (3:30.82).
“Super excited about my time today,” Cheruiyot said. “The Diamond League is extremely important me and the competition is intense. And then there is the World Championships so it is a long season ahead. I certainly want to win as many as I can especially when I am in such a great shape.”
Fraser-Pryce and Naser fly to sprint victories
Following an indifferent run in Stanford last weekend, multiple world and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce looked every bit back to her best with a convincing 100m win in Lausanne.
The Jamaican got off to her usual strong start and was never headed as European champion Dina Asher-Smith and African champion Marie-Josee Ta Lou trailed in her wake.
She stopped the clock at 10.74, bringing her tally of sub-10.8 performances to a record-tying 13. Asher-Smith finished second in a season’s best of 10.91 with Ta Lou taking third in 10.93. In fourth, two-time world champion Dafne Schippers clocked a season’s best of 11.04.
“I came to Lausanne in a very happy state of mind, despite a poor performance in Stanford,” said Fraser-Pryce. “I am delighted with 10.74 today. Such ups and downs make sure that you do not take anything for granted and do not get complacent.
“It’s a long season this year, but I’m feeling great,” she added. “Let’s see how the season progresses; I will happily embrace anything that the season will throw at me. I am going to enjoy it and do my best.”
In the first track event of the evening’s main programme, the women’s 400m, Salwa Eid Naser broke one of the oldest Athletissima meeting records.