Lyles matches year’s 200m best in Diamond League triumph

Los Angeles, USA: American Noah Lyles matched the fastest time in the world this year in winning the 200 meters in 19.69 seconds Saturday at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League athletics meet.

The 20-year-old former world junior champion, helped by a tailwind at the legal limit of 2.0 m/sec, set a personal best to equal South Africa's Clarence Munyai for the top 2018 time and even shock himself.

"To be honest, I'm a little scared," Lyles said. "I didn't think I would be running this fast this season, this soon. I didn't think I was ready but my body was."

The showdown at Eugene, Oregon, marks the final "Pre" at 99-year Hayward Field before a major reconstruction ahead of hosting the 2021 World Outdoor Athletics Championships.

Starting one lane from the outside, Lyles made a great start around the curve and surged over the final 100 to finish .01 off Justin Gatlin's meet record.

"Everybody will just have to deal with it," Lyles said. "I'm here to dominate."

London 2017 world bronze medalist Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago was second in 20.05 with Canada's Aaron Brown third in 20.07.

US 60m indoor champion Ronnie Baker, who owns the 2018 world best of 9.97, defended his 100m crown in a 2.4m/sec wind-aided 9.78.

Compatriot Christian Coleman, this year's world 60m champion and last year's world 100m runner-up, was second in 9.84. Britain's Reece Prescod was third in 9.88, edging China's Su Bingtian by .02.

Coleman started strong but Baker surged with 30 meters remaining to seize the victory, his second in as many weeks after a win at Jamaica.

"Christian was really pushing me," Baker said. "My mindset was just to stay relaxed and run through the line and that's what I did."

Coleman, who pulled out of the 200 after tweaking a leg muscle, was happy with his 2018 outdoor debut.

"Felt pretty good about my first race of the year after tweaking something in my leg," Coleman said.

Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou, last year's world 100 and 200 runner-up, won the women's 100 in 10.88, .02 ahead of compatriot Murielle Ahoure.

Rio Olympic champion Elaine Thompson of Jamaica was third in 10.98 with reigning world champion Tori Bowie of the United States fifth in 11.03.

Bowie had to be helped off the track, grabbing her left leg and grimacing after the race.

Reigning Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas surged late to win the women's 400 in 49.52 with world champion Phyllis Francis of the United States second in 50.81. Rio Olympic runner-up Allyson Felix withdrew with no reason given.

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