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Lyles to run only 200m at U.S. trials, double in 2020

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Lyles to run only 200m at U.S. trials, double in 2020
FILE PHOTO: Athletics - Diamond League - Lausanne - Stade de la Pontaise, Lausanne, Switzerland - July 5, 2019 Noah Lyles of the U.S. celebrates after winning the Men's 200m REUTERS/Denis Balibouse   -   Copyright  DENIS BALIBOUSE(Reuters)
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By Gene Cherry

(Reuters) – World 200 metres favourite Noah Lyles has ruled out also running the 100 metres at next week’s U.S. championships/world trials, the sprinter and his coach told Reuters on Monday.

The longer sprint has always been Lyles’ chief objective for September’s world championships in Doha but fast times this year had whetted his appetite to ponder a potential double.

“I’ve been discussing the idea of running the 100m along with the 200m at the US Champs with Coach over the weekend,” Lyles said in a text message.

“After Lausanne, it was really tempting to go for the 100m as well,” he added, referring to his 200m time of 19.50 seconds that made him the fourth fastest man of all-time at the distance.

“I feel like I’m improving in the 100m every race. But after thinking about it the last couple days, we decided it is better to just stick to the plan we’ve had since the fall and focus on the 200m this year,” Lyles added.

“Well, and the 4×100m!”

The 100-200m double is coming in 2020, the American, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Thursday, said.

“We have already decided to do the double next year at the Olympic Trials. That’s for sure,” he noted.

His coach, Lance Brauman, confirmed that was the plan.

“And he’ll be ready,” Brauman said. “He’s improved in the 100m even faster than either of us expected.”

This year’s U.S. championships/world trials are set for July 25-28 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Preparation and this being Lyles’ first opportunity to win a world championship played key roles in the decision to run the 200m only, Brauman said in an email.

“All of Noah’s preparation, training and racing this year has been based on him running the 200m in the championship events,” Brauman noted.

“It doesn’t seem wise to go against all of that preparation this late in the game. He’s ready to make his first senior team and show what he can do in the 200m.”

Along with his 200m, which made him the fastest man at the distance since Usain Bolt won the 2012 Olympics, Lyles also ranks joint second best on this year’s 100m world list at 9.86 seconds.

Only compatriot Christian Coleman, who will attempt a double at the U.S. trials, has been faster (9.81).

The two will meet at Des Moines, but it will be in the 200 where Coleman ranks sixth joint fastest at 19.91.

(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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