CHICAGO (AFP) – American sprinter Noah Lyles clocked the fastest time in the world this year at 9.88 seconds to capture the men’s 100 metres US national title on Friday (June 22).
The 20-year-old came from behind to catch and pass runner-up Ronnie Baker to lower the 100m world-leading time of 9.89 which he ran earlier in the day at the US Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
“World lead in two events. I feel so blessed,” said Lyles, who is known primarily as a 200m runner.
Baker, who had the lead with 25 metres to go, finished in 9.90 while Kendal Williams was third in 10.00.
In the semi-finals, Lyles ran 9.89, equalling Mike Rodgers’ fastest time of the year set when winning his heat on Thursday.
Rodgers did not run in the semis after being scratched from the race but no details were given.
With no Olympic or world championship team berths at stake for the only time in a four-year cycle, many big American names are sitting these nationals out, including world indoor record holder Christian Coleman and 100m world champ Justin Gatlin.
This is the first national title for Lyles, who does not turn 21 until next month.
“That’s actually pretty cool. Oh my god,” he told reporters immediately after winning the race.
Earlier this month in Kingston, Jamaica, Lyles ran a previous personal best of 9.93 to become just the second person to break 10.00 in the 100 and 19.80 in the 200 before their 21st birthday. The other is Jamaica’s Yohan Blake.
Baker set a personal best of 9.90 despite finishing second. He said his next stop is Europe, and specifically Paris, where he hopes to run more personal bests.
“It is a learning process. I am overall happy. I feel like I let up a bit at the tape. He just accelerated a little better than me today,” said Baker, who travels to Paris on Tuesday.
In the women’s 100m final, Aleia Hobbs claimed her first career national title with a winning time of 10.91sec.
She edged out runner-up Ashley Henderson who finished in 10.96. Jenna Prandini was third in 10.98.