Lyles sets the 200m stage
World Championships 200 metres winner Noah Lyles, at the Racers' Grand Prix on Saturday, produced a performance that laid down the gauntlet for the rest of the 200 metres field as well as getting the stamp of approval from multiple World Championships and Olympic Games gold medallist Usain Bolt.
Lyles closed the meet with a meet record and world-leading time of 19.67 seconds to win the men's 200 metres to the cheers of the Jamaican crowd, which, he admitted previously, he was unsure of what to expect.
It was not just the crowd that boosted him but the meeting between himself and Bolt, the man whose record he has been open about claiming.
"Bolt came over and congratulated me and gave me words of encouragement to become the new face of the sport and take it forward," Lyles told World Athletics.
What Bolt also told Lyles was to continue his energetic persona.
"This moment felt really special. @usainbolt told me to keep bringing my personality to the sport, and I told him I GOT HIM!!," Lyles tweeted yesterday.
Buoyed by the atmosphere, Lyles said that getting a world lead at this stage of the season, despite some areas to improve, is encouraging as he sets the platform for his title defence and world-record chase.
"A good crowd makes a better performance. You will get average me when you get a mediocre crowd. What we got on Saturday was nothing short of amazing," Lyles said in his Television Jamaica interview.
"It is not what I was at last year, but I'm glad to see the time. I didn't see 19.6 until later in June last year, but there are things to clean up, which is exciting."