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2022 World Athletics Championships: Kerley Coasts Through World 200m Semis

AFP

Last Updated: July 19, 2022, 08:54 IST

Eugene

Fred Kerley led a fresh strikeforce of US sprinters into the semi-finals of the men's 200m. (Credit: AP)

Fred Kerley led a fresh strikeforce of US sprinters into the semi-finals of the men's 200m. (Credit: AP)

Kerley won his heat to raise the prospect of other US cleansweep after the sprint all-rounder led Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell home in blue riband event.

Newly-crowned world 100m champion Fred Kerley led a fresh strikeforce of US sprinters into the semi-finals of the men’s 200m on Monday.

Kerley won his heat in 20.17 seconds to raise the prospect of another US cleansweep, after the sprint all-rounder led Marvin Bracy and Trayvon Bromell home in the blue riband event.

Also Read: World Athletics Championships: Fred Kerley Wins Men’s100m Gold in USA Clean Sweep

In the absence of that duo, it was the turn of the Americans who finished second, third and fourth in the 200m at last year’s Tokyo Olympics — Kenneth Bednarek, world champion Noah Lyles and 18-year-old Erriyon Knighton — to take to the track of Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

And they didn’t disappoint, all coasting through their heats for Tuesday’s semi-final, with the final scheduled for 0235 GMT on Thursday.

A hyped-up Lyles celebrated his 25th birthday on Monday by setting the fastest qualifying time of 19.98 seconds, the sole sprinter to go sub-20.

Lyles, who complained of feeling isolated at the Tokyo Games held in strict Covid-19 regulations, said Eugene was much “more fun”.

“It’s completely different from Tokyo. You come out here and I’ve got my medical staff and I’ve got my family, I’ve got my brother (Josephus) in the same competition,” Lyles said.

“There’s a humongous crowd. Compared to Tokyo it was an open hot stadium, and you know everyone just felt like they were just trying to get through it. Here it feels like you’re running for something, you’re excited and energetic.”

Lyle has been outspoken in his battles with mental health issues and said his new outlook to competing was “a combination of a lot of work, lot of therapy, lot of realization about relationships… kind of just finding myself again, running for the reasons I want to run”.

“I feel like coming here I’m able to be the ‘most me’ I’ve been in years. I think the last time I had this fun was like 2018 when I was running US championships and running tons of 19 seconds.

“Even in 2019 it was a long season and I was exhausted at the end of it but now I’m here and I’m in shape and I have energy and I’m ready to run fast. I’m like ‘Yo, come on let’s play and have fun’.”

Lyles added: “At the end of the day I’m a performer. I like to go out there and have fun and get people excited.

“We went through two years of not having that. That really got to me. I was talking to my therapist and he said ‘You are a performer and if the crowd isn’t there you’re going to run average.’

“And I said ‘You know what, you’re right’. So whenever there is a crowd and people are excited to run, I’ll be there.”

Canada’s reigning Olympic champion Andre de Grasse, who failed to make the 100m final, was a non-starter in his heat.

The Canadian struggled in the 100m, having only just returned from a second dose of Covid-19, but is holding out hope of being involved in the 4x100m relay.

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first published:July 19, 2022, 08:54 IST
last updated:July 19, 2022, 08:54 IST