Noah Lyles celebrates his victory over 100 meters during the World Championships in Athletics in Budapest, Hungary, on Sunday August 20, 2023. MATTHIAS SCHRADER / AP
Usain Bolt may have found his heir. After six years of power on the queen event of athletics, Noah Lyles has just struck a blow by becoming world champion in the 100 meters, Sunday August 20, in Budapest. One year from the Paris Games, where he could be one of the great attractions, the American has just validated the first part of his last challenge: to achieve a double in the 100m and 200m in Hungary.
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By running in 9 seconds 83 in the final, synonymous with the best world performance of the year, the sprinter beat the Batswana Letsile Tebogo, the first African to stand on the 100m podium at the world championships, and the Briton Zharnel Hugues, third. The two men set a time of 9 seconds 88 and were separated by a thousandth of a second.
Noah Lyles, who had so far focused exclusively on the 200m – the distance over which he is a double world champion – won his first ever title on the straight. According to Pierre-Jean Vazel, former coach of Christine Arron (European record holder in the 100m since 1998) and specialist in sprints and throws, the 26-year-old Floridian knew how to capitalize on his departure to make the difference: ” This is usually not his strong point. But today, he quickly came out of the starting blocks and once launched, it is very difficult to catch him. He is a 200m runner who remains very well placed in his race. »
Tebogo takes date
At the other end of the track, Letsile Tebogo, 20, has truly hatched in the eyes of the world sprint. The one who confided to the microphone of France Télélvisions to have made a race ” blindly “, without seeing his main competitors, remained relaxed and fluid until the finish, winning second place and a national record. ” He was impressive. He is still very young and he has a huge margin for physical and technical progress.emphasizes Pierre-Jean Vazel. But, today, he took advantage of his youth to have this stroke of madness, this recklessness, and seek out the best. »
The Batswana is a diamond in the rough, he who ran the 400m in 44.75 seconds this year, and the 200m in 19.50 seconds, the second best performance of the year. He could also again invite himself on the podium of the world championships in Budapest, on August 25, on the occasion of the final of the half-lap.
“The Lyles-Tebogo duel will be a good soap opera to follow for the world sprint which is struggling to find a new leader and charismatic figures. [Maurice] Greene, [Carl] Lewis, Bolt, all had an aura that went beyond athleticism, which is lacking today. Since Bolt’s retirement, it’s never been the same sprinter who has won the Worlds. »
The absent French
The disappointment came from Jamaican Oblique Seville. Arrived at the same time as Tebogo and Hugues, the sprinter was separated by a thousandth of a second and finally finished at the foot of the podium, like at the Worlds in Eugene (United States) last year. He had however signed a very convincing race in the semi-final (9 seconds 86) before being friable in the final fight.
It should be noted that the outgoing world champion, Fred Kerley, and the reigning Olympic champion, Marcell Jacobs did not pass the stage of the semi-finals. The French Mouhamadou Fall, he did not exceed the quarters.
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Since 2017, in London, no Habs have managed to reach the final of the queen event. A bitter observation one year from the Paris 2024 Games. “We are a bit in the trough of the wave in France. We can’t really explain that… The times are even decreasing for women while, at the same time, the world level is increasing and all countries are getting started »summarizes Pierre-Jean Vazel.
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For Noah Lyles, on the other hand, the machine seems well oiled. The American succeeds his compatriots Justin Gatlin (2017), Christian Coleman (2019) and Fred Kerley (2022), at the top of the world sprint. Before going to seek, on banks of the Danube, a double of prestige which tightens the arms to him.