Noah Lyles delivers on trash talk, becomes world’s fastest man

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American Noah Lyles talked big before the world championships about his place in history. Like Mohammad Ali predicting his knockout round, Lyles even declared how many gold medals he would win at this event and forecast the times he’d do it in.

It was not hubris, but he was out by 0.18 seconds when he made good on his prediction and won the 100 metre gold.

Noah Lyles delivered on his prediction and won the world championships 100m gold meda in Budapest.Credit: AP

“They said I wasn’t the one. But I thank god that I am,” Lyles said after winning gold in 9.83s.

“I knew what I had to do. I came here for three golds, ticked off one, others are coming. The 100m was the hardest one, it is out of the books. I will have fun with the event I love now.”

“I needed to make sure that I was accelerating and when I was at 60m I took the lead,” Lyles said.

“I have taken a lot of losses, even in 100m, and going to the US trials with COVID I got a bronze medal, but a lot of people cut me off right there.”

US runner Noah Lyles crosses the finish line (both left) to win the 100m at the world championships with a time of 9.83s and celebrates his win afterwards (main).Credit: AP/Reuters

Before the championships the man who had already won two world 200m championships golds, predicted he would win the sprint double and relay gold.

“I will run 9.65, 19.10,” he wrote in an Instagram post hashtagged Budapest2023, predicting his times in the 100m and 200m.

He wasn’t out by much but, as always, it was a race of small margins. The next three men behind him at the line all recorded the same time to two decimal places.

Letsile Tebogo of Botswana, Zharnel Hughes of Great Britain and Jamaica’s Oblique Seville all ran 9.88s. Tebogo was given the silver and Hughes the bronze split by thousandths of a second.

Earlier Australia’s Rohan Browning shrugged the monkey off his back from two awful previous world championships performances but was still left disappointed with his semi-final run.

Browning ran the identical time in the semi-final as his heat – 10.11s – to finish fourth and miss the cut for the final.

“I am just really disappointed. I definitely felt like I was in shape to run a lot better. I felt like I had 60 metres of really good race,” Browning said.

While frustrated with his run, the 25 year-old has now made the semi-finals at both the Olympics and world championships and feels he is close to making the next step in his career.

Rohan Browning ran 10.11s again, but it wasn’t enough to advbance him from the semi-final to the final in the 100m.Credit: Reuters

“I definitely had this monkey on my back of not making it out of the heats at world champs. I had two shocking world champs and this has been a bigger step forward – still not quite enough – but what you hope for is irrelevant, you have to be good enough,” he said.

His run of 10.11s was bang on his average performance this year, so delivering consistently is not his issue. His challenge now is to break away from what he can consistently achieve and find a new level of performance.

“I knew sub-10 (seconds) would be the benchmark to progress, and that is where it ended up being more or less. I feel like this year I haven’t run a PB, but I feel like I have had a good year. I think how I evaluate the year isn’t so much on times, its more the softer lessons and skills,” Browning said.

“Hopefully next year that average result can be low 10s and nines. I guess now I have 12 months of a chip on my shoulder going into Paris [Olympics].”

Browning drew an unenviable semi-final, if there is such a thing as an enviable semi-final in the most competitive event in world athletics.

There were four sub-10 second runners in his race, including reigning champion Fred Kerley and Jamaican Oblique Seville, who was the quickest man in the heats with 9.86s.

The competition simply to make the final was intense, with only the first two across the line in the semis qualifying, along with the two other runners who produced the quickest times across all heats.

As it was, Kerley just beat Browning into third in 10.02s, but did not reach the final.

Their semi was won by Seville in 9.98s, Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo was second in 9.98s.

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