Athletics

World record for sprinter Noah Lyles? Actually, not quite

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Malcolm McCausland

Athletics

A WORLD record that was not a world record became the most exciting part of the Weltklasse Zürich Inspiration Games which took place across six countries and 10 time zones.

The meeting was the latest in improvised athletics meetings to allow some of the world's top athletes a competitive opportunity while Covid-19 continues to lock down the sport in most countries of the world.

“That cannot be right!” exclaimed commentator as Steve Cram as Noah Lyles stopped the clock at an incredible 18.91 in the 200m.

“That cannot be right! 18.91? That cannot be right, can it?”

The reigning world champion got a great start, quickly sprinting into a huge lead over competitors Churandy Martina and 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Christophe Lemaitre.

Powering down the home straight against the breeze, the American stopped the clock at 18.91 (later corrected to 18.90).

Naturally all hell broke loose as the time would have obliterated Usain Bolt's world mark of 19.19 set in Berlin almost 11 years ago.

Is it that long?

But Cram was not wrong as officials scrambled to reconcile what they had just seen on the timing with their brains.

A double-quick review found that Lyles had started at the wrong line on the track, hard to believe for a professional sprinter, and actually ran only 185 meters.

It meant no world record and Usain Bolt could breathe a sigh of relief in some part of the world.

The other two men did run the full distance with Lemaitre taking the victory, running 20.65 to Martina's 20.81, although it could be argued that the performance of Lyles was clearly superior, equating to 20.43 pace for a full 200.

And that does not factor in the wind.

Athletics

RACING shoes are being dusted down all over the country as competitive athletics is set to recommence.

And the sport has never seemed to be as popular as races sell out within hours of the entries going on-line.

Next weekend athletes in the Marathon Potential 2024 squad will join runners from across the North at the Championchip Ireland Running Series on Down Royal Racecourse..

Sponsored by Forestside Shopping Centre, the 10K for elite runners will be the first Athletics NI licensed event since lockdown began in March.

The Marathon Potential 2024 programme aims to deliver Olympic standard marathon runners for Paris Games.

It includes NI record holder, Ann-Marie McGlynn, and Eoghan Totten who both ran personal bests at the Dublin Marathon last year clocking 2:32:54 and 2:16:08 respectively.

The project began last autumn with the squad meeting regularly for training and education until lockdown began in March.

The runners have continued to communicate and support each other but training has been solo until now and all are keen for a competitive run out on July 19.

Before lockdown, many of the men's squad were aiming to break the 30-minute barrier for the 10K distance including Ben Branagh, Conan McCaughey and Chris Madden.

The squad are hoping as many men as possible can duck under 30 minutes assisted by Stephen Scullion who will set the pace.

Ann Marie McGlynn (Photo) has been registering some phenomenal times around her Gransha training routes in Derry and will be hoping now to make those marks official in competition.

“We are very much looking forward to the 10K at Down Royal and for the Marathon Potential 2024 squad to support each other for their target time,” said Mark Kirk, lead coach for the squad.”

A four-miler (6.4K) and a half marathon will also be run off on the day with the runners starting in waves and socially distanced throughout each run.

The 120 spots for New Mills 10K in Letterkenny on July 26 also sold out in less than 24 hours.

The race marks the return of competition in Donegal and hosts Letterkenny AC were taken aback with speed in which the limited availability was snapped up by race-hungry runners in the county.

And it is not just the road events that are selling out.

The always popular Dublin Graded Meetings kick off the track and field action on Wednesday (July 22) with an extensive programme of events.

The limited 120 places were quickly gone as followers of the sport eagerly await a glimpse of the new format for track-racing.

Omagh Harriers also host a track meeting on August 5 with the racing distances confined to 800m and under. There is also a long jump competition with the lack of electronic timing unlikely to deter many eager for an outing.

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Athletics