24 July, 2019

A trio of stars in the 200m

A 3-way match between the young American hotshot of the sprint, the world champion in London and an Olympic medallist in Rio. The poster really gets the imagination going, yet it’s very real. Noah Lyles, Ramil Guliyev and Christophe Lemaitre will indeed be present at the Charléty Stadium on 24 August. All three are pretenders to victory, but which of them will gain the upper hand?

Relatively new on the scene, Noah Lyles is the odds-on favourite right now. Reducing his personal best to a time of 19’’50 this season, synonymous with the best performance in the world, and nailing a sub-19’’80 time in two 200m races, the American sprint prodigy is set to impress in Paris.

However, the Turk Ramil Guliyev has more than a (half-)lap of the track to his credit. Already, his world title in London in 2017 was unexpected. He’d deprived the South African Wayde Van Niekerk of the 200-400m double he was targeting. This season, he completed his best 200m in 19’’99 in May, not far off his personal best (19’’76), which augurs well for an almighty battle between the three athletes. Yes, three athletes, since Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre will also be competing. Hindered by repeated injuries for the past few months, the bronze medallist in the 200m in Rio in 2016 has linked together a seriesof races, reducing his time in the half-lap of the track on every occasion: 20’’96 in Bulle (Switzerland), 20’’63 in Luzerne (Switzerland) then 20’’46 in Sotteville. Therefore, he should be in great shape in Paris. He too holds a sub-20-second record (19’’80), so we can expect a crazy race on 24 August.