'Is this real': Bizarre drama after runner 'shatters' Usain Bolt record

Andrew Reid
·3-min read
Pictured here, American Noah Lyles and Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt.
Noah Lyles thought he'd smashed Usain Bolt's 200m world record. Pic: Getty

For a moment it looked as though Noah Lyles had become the fastest man on the planet over 200m.

Running in the Inspiration Games, the American clocked what seemed an unlikely, yet staggering, 18.90sec over the 200m.

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No person has ever run sub-19 seconds over the same distance, with Bolt's world record from the 2009 World Championships standing at 19.19 seconds.

Unsurprisingly, the lighting fast time had viewers doing double-takes with Lyles’ brother Josephus among those to react with disbelief.

However, Lyles’ joy soon turned to despair when it was revealed that he had been given the wrong start line, meaning he only ran 185 metres.

"You can't be playing with my emotions like this.... got me in the wrong lane smh (shaking my head)," Lyles tweeted with an emoji of someone covering up their face.

Unfortunately for the runner, it meant he was disqualified and France's Christophe Lemaitre claimed the win after clocking 20.65sec.

The globe-spanning competition, pitching Europe against North America and the rest of the world, was the brainwave of organisers of the Zurich Diamond League, cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Athletes competed from one of seven different venues around the world, with starting guns fired simultaneously and split screens set up to broadcast it around the world.

Allyson Felix impresses in rare event

American Allyson Felix impressed in the innovative event, scorching to victory in the women's rarely-run 150m.

The six-time Olympic gold medallist, running in Walnut, California, clocked 16.81sec, with Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas in second in 17.15sec after getting a synchronised start on the track in Bradenton, Florida.

"It's very strange," said the American, who has 18 career world championship medals including 13 gold.

"It's hard to challenge yourself. But I love this sport, so any chance to get out there and run, I'll take it."

She later anchored the US team to victory in the 3x100m relay.

Pictured here, champion American sprinter Allyson Felix in action.
Allyson Felix impressed at the Inspiration Games. Pic: Getty

There was another unusual event for the male sprinters: the 100 yards, which was included in the Commonwealth Games until 1966 and is still held in the United States in certain competitions.

The sole race with the three athletes in the same place, Bradenton, saw Canada's Andre de Grasse sweep through the line in 9.68sec.

Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut was on his heels in 9.72sec, with Jamaican Olympic 110m hurdles champion Omar McLeod third (9.87).

"I'm glad I got to come out here and get a run in," said De Grasse, who won silver (200m) and bronze (100m) at last year's world champs in Doha.

"It was fun!"

with AFP