(Reuters) – Noah Lyles overcame an apparent false start to run the fourth-fastest 150 meters of all time on a wet elevated straightaway in Boston on Sunday.
After television footage showed the world and Olympic 200m favourite leaving the starting blocks early, Lyles was given a second chance and romped to a personal best 14.69 seconds in the Adidas Boost Boston Games.
Retired Jamaican Usain Bolt, the man Lyles would like to succeed in the Olympic 200m, holds the world best of 14.35 seconds in the infrequently run event.
“What did the guy at the start say? Green card. Then it was a green card,” Lyles said after officials told NBC Sports there was no conclusive evidence that the star of the meeting had false started.
But four-time Olympic sprint medallist Ato Boldon, the network’s analyst, disagreed. “In any other meet, Noah is out of this race,” he said.
Once the red-clad Lyles got moving in the restart, there was no stopping him as he left British runnerup Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake 0.41 seconds in his wake.
The United States has not won an Olympic medal in the men’s 200m since 2008 and Lyles is aiming to change that.
“I made it my mission,” said the talented sprinter with Bolt-like showmanship. “We are not out of this. We are coming back.”
His goal is gold in both September’s world championships in Doha and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Despite the wet conditions, Bahamian Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Britain’s 100m European champion Zharnel Hughes and South African sprinter Akani Simbine had impressive performances.
Miller-Uibo clocked 16.37 seconds, a mere 0.14 off her world best in the women’s 150m.
Hughes claimed the 200m straightaway race in 20.00 seconds and Commonwealth Games winner Simbine clocked 9.92 seconds in the 100m.
The women’s 100m went to world 60m indoor champion Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast in 11.09 seconds with world outdoor gold medallist Tori Bowie, who is coming back from injuries, third in 11.22.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Ian Ransom)