By Neil Leverett
- Round 12 of the Diamond League in the Parisian capital sees Noah Lyles break Usain Bolt’s 200m meet record, clocking 19.65
- Will Claye jumps plus 18m in men’s triple jump, as Daniel Roberts ends Orlando Ortega’s winning hurdles streak
- Elaine Thompson throws hat into crowded women’s 100m ring, with Ronald Musagala also announcing 1500m Doha intentions
PARIS, FRANCE – As Noah Lyles further enhanced his 200m status, what else did we learn from Round 12 of the 2019 IAAF Diamond League in Paris?
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Lyles heir to Bolt?
Having been arguably the breakout athlete of the 2019 season, Noah Lyles once more made the sporting world sit upright in their seats in Paris, as the American headlined Round 12 of the Diamond League by winning the men’s 200m, breaking Usain Bolt‘s 2013 meet record.
Clocking 19.65, the 22-year-old destroyed the field on show winning by over three-tenths-of-a-second, as both Ramil Guliyev and Aaron Brown were left in Lyles’ dust in the suburbs of the French capital, finishing second and third respectively.
After the Floridian shocked compatriot Christian Coleman to 100m victory in the 100m in Shanghai earlier this campaign – running a personal best of 9.86 – the American’s season has gone from strength to strength. Now, having announced his intentions to focus on the 200m solely at next month’s World Championships, Lyles look a strong bet to win Gold in Qatar.
A former 2015 Pan-American champion and World Junior champion a year later, the American sprinter breaking Bolt’s six-year track record, is further evidence of Lyles’ talents, and with wins in both Lausanne and here this weekend, looks already the man to beat in the Middle East.
Daniels ends Ortega streak
In the 110m hurdles, Daniel Roberts denied Orlando Ortega a sixth consecutive race win, as the American took advantage of his opponent clipping a barrier, to win his first Diamond League race, just weeks after winning the US Trials in Iowa.
With Ortega having already recorded a season Diamond League double and in Switzerland and in Roberts’ back yard on US soil in Stanford, the Cuban-born Spanish athlete was paced well to again come home victorious, only to hit the fifth barrier and lose his momentum – failing to catch Roberts on the line.
Recording a time of 13.08 – eight-one-hundrendths outside his lifetime best set earlier this year – Roberts finished a nose ahead of Ortega, as fellow American Freddie Crittenden came in third.
With Jamaican rival Omar McLeod looking on from a distance, and with Sergey Shubenkov looking well short of his early form of 2019, Roberts’ composure could be key to beating all around him in the run-up to Doha, which he will be well aware of.
Claye, Taylor set for Doha battle
With almost exactly a month to go to until the stars collide in Qatar, the men’s triple jump looks set to be one of the most fiercely contested duels during the worlds’, with Will Claye and Christian Taylor on course to light the blue touch paper.
As the great American friends and rivals went head to head in Paris on Saturday, Claye came out on top, but with Taylor having won Gold in the last two Olympics in Rio and London, as well as the last three world titles in succession, Claye still has his work cut out to wrestle the Gold from the New York-born, UK based jumper.
What is clear however, is after jumping 18.06 in ideal conditions, Jonathan Edwards‘ long-standing world record could now come under threat again in Doha, after the Briton jumped 18.29 in Gothenburg in 1995.
Taylor suggested he would be gunning for the distance in London 2017 but fell short, however having recorded 18.21 in the past and with Qatari conditions set to favour the athletes, it could be Claye or Taylor to stare one of sport’s most iconic feats full in the face and go close, or even break it.
Thompson back in sprint picture
With Both Dina Asher-Smith and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce not in attendance, Elaine Thompson threw her hat back into the ring for next month, winning the women’s 100m in 10.98.
Finishing ahead of Marie-Josee Ta Lou and Dafne Schippers, the Jamaican defending sprint-double Olympic champion in Rio, further announced her intentions for next month, having won the 100m earlier this season in Rome, as well as victory at the Muller Anniversary Games in the 200m last month.
Thompson, 27, had for many been left out of the reckoning of any world Gold conversation, but as the season enters its’ business end, the Caribbean sprinter has firmly returned to the picture – having also won the Pan-American Games in Lima a few weeks ago.
With the Diamond League finals in the next two weeks, Thompson will converge with man of her rivals in Qatar, and in Zurich and Brussels over the next two meets, we may know more about her chances, head-to-head.
Musagala sends 1500m message
The men’s 1500m has been one of the most hotly-contested Diamond League events this season, and with just the finals to go, Ronald Musagala looks to be hitting form at the right time, completing successive wins after victory in Birmingham last weekend.
Having seen his fellow Africans dominate the event in 2019, the Uganda’s second win in a week have done his chances no harm whatsoever, especially given his storming finish this weekend.
Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot is regarded in the game as the best final-lap specialist around – with four Diamond League wins under his belt – but after Musagala’s showing here, the 24-year-old from Iganga will have opened more than a few eyes.
Musagala has won just a single medal his career thus far with bronze at the last year’s African championships, but after clocking a PB here – and also overcoming the ever-game Ingebrigtsen trio – the Uganda is in the running to add his first world prize in Qatar.
The Diamond League finals begin at the Weltklasse in Zurich, Switzerland, on Thursday 29 August.
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