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Lyles eyes double diamond boost ahead of worlds

Noah Lyles beat Justin Gatlin over the latter’s specialist distance of 100 metres in the Zurich Diamond League final © AFP/File / FABRICE COFFRINI

BRUSSELS, Belgium, Sep 5US sprint sensation Noah Lyles will look to bag a second Diamond League trophy when he competes in the 200 metres in the Brussels final on Friday.

The 22-year-old went to last week’s first final in Zurich and pipped American teammate and current world champion Justin Gatlin to win the 100m.

A shot at a second discipline victory offers Lyles a perfect chance to notch up a psychological booster ahead of the September 27-October 6 world championships in Doha.

“Two years ago I was watching the others win diamonds and this year I am trying to come away with two Diamond race wins. It is going to be something,” Lyles said.

Lyles will go into the 200m as favourite, having clocked 19.50sec in Lausanne last month, a time that made him the fourth fastest of all time over the half-lap race.

The good news for the American is that the track at Brussels’ King Baudouin stadium is a rapid one.

The meet record of 19.26sec was set in 2011 by Jamaican Yohan Blake. It remains the fastest time ever run over the 200m after Usain Bolt’s world record of 19.19sec set in the 2009 Berlin world championships.

– 23 sub-20sec 200m times –

American Walter Dix ran 19.53sec behind Blake in 2011 and Bolt himself has clocked a 19.57sec at the stadium, where there have been an impressive 23 sub-20sec performances in the 200m.

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The field for the 200m also features world and European champion Ramil Guliyev of Turkey, as well as Canada’s Andre De Grasse and Ecuador’s Alex Quinonez.

Women sprinters will also be out in force, competing for glory in the 100m.

Former world and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, now 32 and a mother to a two-year-old son, is the fastest woman in the world this year, with a 10.73sec.

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce celebrating after winning the 100 metres final event at the London Diamond League Anniversary Games in July © AFP/File / Adrian DENNIS

The Jamaican also holds the meeting record of 10.72 set in 2013 and comes to Belgium having already claimed wins in the blue riband event in Lausanne and London this season.

But the Jamaican will face pressure from Britain’s European champion Dina Asher-Smith, with the likes of Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou, Nigerian Blessing Okagbare, Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers and American Aleia Hobbs all capable of pushing for the podium.

The men’s shot put will take place on Thursday at the recently renovated Square De Brouckere in downtown Brussels.

Olympic champion Ryan Crouser, former world champions Tom Walsh and Joe Kovacs, and Diamond Race leader Darlan Romani ensure a high-quality opening event to the final event in the Diamond League season, with every athletes’ eyes on the bigger goal awaiting in the Qatari capital.

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