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Lyles and Knighton set for final duel as Kerley says goodbye to the double

The two favorites for the 200 world title shone in the semifinals with 19.62 and 19.77 but 100m gold medallist Kerley limped out of the event.

Eugene (Oregon)Update:
Noah Lyles (L) celebrates next to second-placed Kenneth Bednarek after coming in first in his 200m heat at the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

Team USA is seeking a sprint double at the World Championships but a repeat of the 100m clean sweep is no longer a possibility after the current fastest man in the world, Fred Kerley, who stormed through the heats, missed out on the 200m final. The 100m gold medallist finished his semifinal in sixth in a time 20.68 after pulling up on the curve and clutching his thigh as he crossed the finish line. According to US track great Michael Johnson, Kerley was affected by cramp and could still play a part in the relays. Earlier, 110m hurdles champion Grant Holloway had offered himself up for the team events if required.

Fred Kerley.
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The bad news for Team USA was nipped in the bud though when Noah Lyles, Kenny Bednarek and Erriyon Knighton went into action. The defending world champion edged Bednarek, silver medallist in Tokyo, and 18-year-old prodigy Knighton dominated his heat: Lyles clocked 19.62, Bednarek 19.84 and Knighton, considered by many the heir to Usain Bolt, finished in 19.77.

Erriyon Knighton.
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Erriyon Knighton.JIM WATSONAFP

Knighton and Lyles to settle spat in the 200m final

The final is set to be a tremendous duel between Lyles and Knighton with Bednarek as an outsider. Knighton will be seeking revenge for what unfolded in the US trials on this same track when he was defeated by Lyles, who smiled and pointed at the young pretender to his throne as he crossed the finish line. Many interpreted that as a veiled threat towards the young talent and the reigning 200m world champion was obliged to offer an explanation: “I am pointing out all those people who continue to doubt me,” Lyles said.

Knighton was not satisfied with that and said after the race: “I will only come back here in the World Championship and win. The work is not finished, it is never finished.” Lyles’ reaction was equally succint: “It’s not over!” he yelled as Knighton walked away. Sparks will fly at Hayward Field in the final.


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