By Milcah Tanimu
Sha’Carri Richardson and Noah Lyles continued their impressive performances at the World Athletics Championships, smoothly advancing in their 200m campaigns after securing 100m golds earlier in the week.
Richardson, aiming to join the elite group of women achieving the 100m-200m double, emerged as the fastest in the heats with a time of 22.16 seconds.
Two-time defending 200m champion Lyles displayed a solid performance, clocking 20.05 seconds. He seeks to replicate the feat of being a men’s sprint double winner, last achieved by Usain Bolt in 2015.
Swedish pole vault sensation Armand Duplantis had no trouble reaching the final, although he and his competitors had to contend with challenging conditions during their three-and-a-half-hour wait in the sweltering morning environment.
Richardson faces a formidable challenge in her quest to replicate the feats of Silke Gladisch (1987), Katrin Krabbe (1991), and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (2013) in achieving the 100m-200m world championships double.
Gabby Thomas, who outpaced Richardson in the US trials, and Jamaica’s defending champion Shericka Jackson, eager to avenge her silver finish behind Richardson’s astonishing 100m gold, present tough competition. Thomas, holding this year’s fastest time of 21.60 seconds, recorded the second-best time of 22.26 seconds.
Thomas shared, “Being the world leader does bring some pressure, but that’s part of the game. I believe I’m in my best shape ever, ready to give my best.”
Lyles, aged 26, sets his sights not only on the double but also on Usain Bolt’s world record of 19.19 seconds set at the 2009 Berlin championships.
Lyles stated, “My goal is to make my races look as effortless as possible, even if they aren’t. I still have more to give, but I didn’t need it here. Tomorrow, I aim to be primed to unleash that power again.”
Lyles could face stiff competition from Letsile Tebogo of Botswana, the 100m silver medalist, and the young American Erriyon Knighton. Tebogo won his heat in 20.22 seconds and expressed that a time faster than 19.50 seconds might be necessary to clinch the title.