July 5, 2018 / 9:41 PM / 4 months ago

Lyles storms to 200m victory as he ties year's best time

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - American Noah Lyles equalled the year’s best 200 metres time when he stormed home in 19.69 seconds at the Lausanne Diamond League meeting on Thursday.

Athletics - Diamond League - Pontaise Stadium, Lausanne, Switzerland - July 5, 2018 Noah Lyles of the U.S. celebrates winning the Men's 200m REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Lyles, running in his favourite event, charged past compatriot Michael Norman to remain unbeaten in the event this year.

The time tied his personal best and the world leading time, which he shares with South Africa’s Clarence Munyai.

“I’m a little disappointed in the time. I wanted to run faster and make that world lead my own,” Lyles, who also shares the yearly 100m lead, told reporters. “But I know I will be able to do it later in the season.

“I’m trying to go 19.4,” the 20-year-old added. “It is a time that has been flashing in my head for a while now and I think it is about time to do it.”

Athletics - Diamond League - Pontaise Stadium, Lausanne, Switzerland - July 5, 2018 Noah Lyles of the U.S. wins the Men's 200m REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Only Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake and American Michael Johnson have ever run faster, with the retired Bolt holding the world record at 19.19 seconds.

Norman, the world indoor 400m record holder, took second in 19.88.

Another yearly best came in the men’s 5,000m where Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew won in 13:01.09 after Ethiopians Selemon Barega, who finished second, and Yomif Kejelcha, became entangled.

Barega appeared to accidentally trip leader Kejelcha, who nearly pulled Barega to the track and was later disqualified.

BIG SURPRISE

In a big surprise, American Shelby Houlihan stunned a high-quality women’s 1,500m field that included British record holder Laura Muir and South African Caster Semenya.

Athletics - Diamond League - Pontaise Stadium, Lausanne, Switzerland - July 5, 2018 Noah Lyles of the U.S. celebrates winning the Men's 200m REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Houlihan, double winner in the 1,500 and 5,000m at the U.S. championships, used her closing speed to take the shorter race in a lifetime best 3:57.34.

“I was not feeling very well (before the race),” Houlihan said. “I had to talk to myself during the race to stay in a comfortable position and the incredible crowd here brought me home during the last 200 metres.”

Muir claimed second in 3:58.18 with Olympic and world 800m champion Semenya, whose middle-distance running career could be under threat because of a new IAAF hyperandrogenism rule, finished sixth in 4:00.44.

Qatari Abderrahman Samba, meanwhile, continued his masterful 400m hurdling.

Samba, who last week ran the second-fastest time ever in the event (46.98 seconds), won his sixth consecutive race by overwhelming Norwegian world champion Karsten Warholm in 47.42 seconds. Warholm was runner-up in 47.94 seconds.

Russian Sergey Shubenkov dominated the 110m hurdles, winning in 12.95 seconds to U.S. champion Devon Allen’s 13.29.

U.S. winner Shamier Little pipped Jamaican Commonwealth Games champion Janieve Russell by five-hundredths of a second to claim the women’s 400m hurdles in 53.41 seconds. American Olympic gold medallist Dalilah Muhammad faded to fourth.

The year’s top woman in the 100m, Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, held off another Olympic champion by clocking 10.90 despite a slow start to beat Jamaican Elaine Thompson (10.99).

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Ken Ferris

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