Lyles to throw down 200m gauntlet at Racers Grand Prix
World Championships 200 metres winner Noah Lyles, on Saturday at the National Stadium, will focus mainly on making a statement in his quest to retain his title and also getting closer to owning the 200 metres world record, where he is unsure of the type of reception he will receive in front of a partisan crowd.
Lyles landed in Jamaica on Thursday for the Racers' Grand Prix, one of the many stars that arrived on the island for the meet, making its return after a three-year hiatus.
Lyles will be competing in the 200 metres, only his second race over the distance this season, after a large part of his outdoor season has seen him competing in the 100 metres.
He has been getting advice from his girlfriend, Jamaican Olympian Junelle Broomfield, about what he can expect from the crowd, and while he is unsure of the reception, he says he is ready to perform.
"She believes that they will give me some good vibes. I'm a little nervous about that. I have prepared myself for either booing or cheering. So either way, I will be ready to run," Lyles told STAR Sports.
Lyles has not competed in a 200 metres race since his season opener on April 14, when he clocked 20.16 seconds at the Tom Jones Memorial meet. The last races have been 100 metres, with only one of the four being wind-legal.
However, Lyles is pleased with how he has been training this year and looks to get his first sub-20 clocking of the season.
"Training has been going extremely well, better than any other year. I had a good workout yesterday (Wednesday). So I definitely expect a season's best, 19.7 at least," Lyles said. James Dadzie of Ghana currently has the fastest time in the world this year, with 19.79 on April 29.
Lyles has earmarked the Racers' Grand Prix to lay down the gauntlet in his bid to retain the World Championships title he won last year as well. Lyles has also expressed his intent to go after multiple World Championships and Olympic Games winner Usain Bolt's world record mark of 19.19 seconds.
"This one is pretty important because this is really my announcement to the 200 metres that we are keeping it serious," Lyles said. "I got to give the 200 metres the same amount of treatment, and no better place to run it than Jamaica."