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Lyles advances but loses 200m record at US trials

Lyles advances but loses 200m record at US trials

World champion Noah Lyles cruised into the 200m semi-finals at the US Olympic track and field trials in Eugene on Friday but was upstaged by 17-year-old prodigy Erriyon Knighton during opening heats.

Lyles, who saw his hopes of a Olympic sprint double brought to an abrupt halt on Sunday when he finished seventh in the 100m final, looked much more comfortable back in his specialist event at Hayward Field.

But the 2019 World Championship gold medallist was forced to settle for second place in 20.19sec behind teenager Knighton, who raced over the line in 20.04sec.

Knighton’s winning time broke Lyles’ US high school record of 20.09sec, set at the US Olympic trials in Eugene five years ago.

Fred Kerley, who finished third in the 100m final on Sunday, finished strongly to qualify third in 20.41sec.

Lyles said he had set out to qualify with a minimum of effort after exerting himself in the 100m earlier in the trials.

“Top two — there’s no reason for me to gas out,” said Lyles, admitting he felt much more comfortable in the 200m than the 100m.

“It always feels natural when I come back to it,” Lyles said. “I don’t have to stress too hard, I don’t have to think too much. I don’t have to worry about getting a good start or not. It’s a comfortable feeling.”

Lyles, meanwhile, was impressed by youngster Knighton after sharing a track with the teenager for the first time.

“I love to see it — it reminds me of when I was racing here in 2016,” Lyles said. “It’s really exciting. It warms my heart.”

Knighton, meanwhile, said he had benefited from having Lyles outside him.

“I just wanted to qualify,” Knighton said. “But I had the world champion behind me so I couldn’t let off the gas too much.”

In other early heat action on Friday, world 110m hurdles champion Grant Holloway looked in superb form as he blasted to victory in 13.11sec, finishing well clear of his nearest rivals.

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