Lyles into final of world 200m despite golf buggy collision

USA's Noah Lyles (Jewel SAMAD)
USA's Noah Lyles (Jewel SAMAD)

Newly-crowned world 100m champion Noah Lyles kept his quest for a first sprint double since 2015 on track Thursday despite being involved in a golf buggy crash en route to the track that left Jamaican Andrew Hudson with glass in his eye.

Lyles, Hudson and the six other sprinters in their 200m semi-final were travelling by buggy from the adjoining training ground to the stadium when a second buggy crashed into theirs.

"I feel like it all happened in slow motion," Hudson said of the collision.

"I was in the buggy coming to the stadium and unfortunately I was sitting on the side where another buggy crashed into us.

"I was directly impacted when a bunch of glass went into my eye. They got most of the glass out. Now I've got to go back and have it looked at, make sure it's OK. My eye is pretty blurry right now."

Hudson was handed a spot in the final of the 200m despite finishing the semi out of the running for the top eight in 20.38 seconds. The track has nine lanes so can accommodate an extra athlete.

"I made a decision to run but it wasn't ideal, for sure. It is my first world championships so it's going to be memorable," Hudson said.

The incident saw the running order of the three semi-finals rejigged, with Lyles' opening semi pushed to third on the night.

"The 200m heats reorder was due to the collision of two golf carts," World Athletics said in a statement.

"One athlete and a volunteer were assessed, and the athlete cleared to participate. He will compete in the last heat."

When Lyles eventually got to the starting blocks, he made no mistake in qualifying for Friday's final in an impressive 19.76sec, with Alexander Ogando of the Dominican Republic in second.

- 'Very confident' -

Lyles, in his quest to become the first male athlete to win a world sprint double since Usain Bolt in 2015, is the two-time defending world champion over 200m and has said he wants to target Usain Bolt's world record of 19.19sec set back in 2009 at the Berlin world championships.

"I'm pretty sure I'll get close to it," Lyles told NBC of Bolt's record.

"I'm very confident in what we did. Today I ran 19.7 and wasn't even really trying. I'm very confident in my ability.

"My body's been repairing itself day by day, and I actually feel better than I did going into the 100."

The American will be accompanied into the semis by the two other medallists in the 100m, Letsile Tebogo of Botswana and Britain's Zharnel Hughes.

Lyles is part of a strong US quartet that includes world and Olympic silver medallist Kenny Bednarek, and 19-year-old Erriyon Knighton, who won world bronze in Eugene last year.

Bednarek and Knighton won the two other semi-finals in 19.96 and 19.98sec ahead of Tebogo and Hughes respectively.

"My goal was just to do it better than last year and I think I did so," said Knighton.

"Although I'm only 19, I've just finished high-school, this is very much where I do belong. I expect to be faster in the final, it's going to be tough."

Tebogo added: "I'll have to see how the body recovers after all these races. I'm just coming here to see how it goes."

The two fastest runners-up progressing into the final are Canada's Olympic champion Andre de Grasse and Liberia's Joseph Fahnbulleh.

De Grasse admitted the semi had been "tough".

"I'm missing that 100m speed, of course, and they got away from me on the turn, which doesn't usually happen," the Canadian said.

"But I live to fight another day, I guess. I'll make a few adjustments in tomorrow's final and see what I can do. I'm going to give it my all, I'm a competitor. I'm in a final after struggling all season, so for now I'll take that."