Mon | Aug 26, 2019

World 100m bronze up for grabs – Boldon

Published:Saturday | August 10, 2019 | 12:25 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

The race for the bronze medal in the men’s 100m will be hotly contested at the World Championships.

That’s the long-range forecast by Ato Boldon, the two-time 100-metre Olympic medallist. According to Boldon, the choice by young American Noah Lyles to skip the 100m at the recent US Trials, has left the bronze up for grabs.

Asked how Lyles’ decision would encourage South Africa’s Commonwealth champion Akani Simbine, 2011 World Champion Yohan Blake and European ­champion Zharnel Hughes of Britain, Boldon said on Thursday, “it certainly leaves a medal open.”

He also put in a good word for reigning champion Justin Gatlin, predicting, “I don’t think three ­people will beat him.”

At the 2017 World Championships, Gatlin glided almost unnoticed from an outer lane to gold with Christian Coleman edging the now-retired Usain Bolt to the silver. Like most onlookers, Boldon thinks Coleman, the fastest man in the world at 9.81 seconds, will win.

Lyles is third on the yearly 100-metre performance list at 9.86 seconds, level with Nigerian’s NCAA champion Divine Oduduru and behind only Coleman and with Gatlin at 9.87.

“I think that third medal is up for grabs,” the renowned track and field analyst agreed.

Even though the American leads Oduduru 19.50 seconds to 19.73 on the 2019 200-metre performance list, he defers to Lyles’ coach.

“The coach in me understands what Lance Brauman is doing, and that is, look, you can’t count any medal in any event in a World Championships before you actually have it around your neck. So, let’s make sure he can go through those rounds and so on with no issue, and then next year, we can begin this quest for this Olympic double,” Boldon reasoned.

DIFFERENT PLAN

However, put in coach Brauman’s position, Boldon would have done differently.

“But if it were my ­athlete, I would have, I think I would have, I think I would have leaned to just let’s go for it,” he pondered. “Because I want to see who’s going to stop you from being 200-metre world champion this year.”

Lyles lost to compatriot Michael Norman, 19.73 to 19.70 seconds in Rome on June 6, but Norman is running the 400m in Doha. In addition, Turkey’s defending champion Ramil Guliyev hasn’t yet approached his lifetime best of 19.76 seconds from last year’s European Championships.

Still, Boldon deferred to the coach who tutored Veronica Campbell-Brown to two Olympic gold medals in the 200m and a World 100-metre title, ­concluding, “but Lance knows Noah and he’s around Noah every day.”