Noah Lyles confirmed after his most recent 100m on Friday that he will not race the event at next week’s USATF Outdoor Championships, opting to focus on his best event, the 200m.
“That’s what I’ve been saying for a few months now,” Lyles told LetsRun.com after finishing second to world champion Justin Gatlin at a Diamond League meet in Monaco on Friday.
Still, Lyles said he discussed the potential 100m-200m double with his coach over the weekend, but they kept the plan to save him strictly for the 200m, according to Reuters.
“We have already decided to do the double next year at the Olympic Trials,” Lyles said, according to the report.
The double is more feasible at the 2020 Olympic trials, which is spread over 10 days, than at next week’s nationals, which are four days. The 100m is contested on Thursday and Friday and the 200m on Saturday and Sunday.
The double is also more feasible at the 2020 Olympics, where there is a full day off between the 100m final and the 200m first round, than the world championships in Doha in late September, when the 200m first round is the day after the 100m final.
Lyles must be cognizant of two other things: that he pulled out during the 2017 USATF Outdoors with a hamstring injury, forcing him to miss that season’s world championships. And that competing in the 100m, his complementary event, could tire him for the later 200m, though he is the overwhelming favorite in the latter and the top three per event make the team for this fall’s worlds in Doha.
Lyles, 22, ranks second in the world in the 100m this year behind countryman Christian Coleman, who is expected to do the 100m-200m double next week. Gatlin, 37, has a bye into worlds as the defending 100m champion, giving the U.S. four world spots in the event.
Lyles is the fastest 200m sprinter in the world this year by a comfortable two tenths of a second. He clocked 19.50 seconds in Lausanne, Switzerland, on July 5, a time bettered in history only by Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Michael Johnson.
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