Lyles cruises into men’s 100m semis at US Olympic trials

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Noah Lyles is also hoping to chase a fourth gold medal in the 4x400m relay in Paris, although it is not clear if he will be named to that pool. (AP pic)
EUGENE: Reigning world 100m champion Noah Lyles advanced to the 100m semifinals at the US Olympic athletics trials by winning his preliminary heat in 9.92s on Saturday.
Lyles cruised into Sunday’s semifinals with his first strides toward the 100m at the Paris Olympics, advancing with ease out of the heats at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
Lyles was the fastest overall qualifier for the semifinals with Christian Coleman, the 2019 100m world champion, second in 9.99s.
It was a redemption run for Lyles, who failed to qualify for the 100m final at the Tokyo Olympics and settled for bronze in a 200m final where he was a favorite.
“It has been three years since we’ve been at an Olympic trials,” Lyles said Saturday. “It has been a long time for a long time.”
Lyles, 26, has said he struggled with depression in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics.
“I’m glad to be happy,” he said. “I’m glad to be out here. I’m glad to be racing and feeling all right with myself.”
The top five finishers in each of five heats plus the next two fastest runners reached the semifinals, where Sunday’s finalists will be decided.
After a false start on Cravon Gillespie, Lyles ended any suspense, winning by .08 of a second over Kenny Bednarek in the opening heat with a 0.2m/s tailwind.
“We had a false start there,” Lyles said. “In our training, coach said reset, walk slow, don’t worry about anything. That’s what I did. I said, ‘I’m going to get back into it. Nothing’s wrong.’”
Lyles was never going to threaten his season best of 9.85s or his personal best of 9.83s.
“I had to make sure that my first 10 steps were powerful and open and after that I stood up,” Lyles said.
“I knew I had the race in me. I knew I had it clear by 60m, which is why I ran more 60s this indoor season. And from there I just shut it down.”
Lyles was a champion in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at last year’s World Championships.
He hopes to chase a fourth gold in Paris in the 4x400m relay, although it is not clear if he will be named to that pool.

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