Noah Lyles confirms plans for 100m and 200m double at 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

Noah Lyles confirms plans for 100m and 200m

It felt like an eternity before Noah Lyles had the chance to become world champion.

Having burst on to the scene in the quadrennial hole between Olympics and World Championships, Lyles then had to wade through the sport's most protracted season to legitimise his star status in Doha. 

Winning the 200-metre title must have been a weight off his shoulders. Sure, there was no assault on the records of Usain Bolt, but try telling the 22-year-old that conquering the planet isn't enough.

That isn't to say that Lyles wasn't gunning for a historic time, however, and he admitted after his victory lap that Michael Johnson's American record had been in his crosshair.

“It was a lot closer than I thought it was going to be," Lyles admitted in his press conference after being tailed by Andre de Grasse, Alex Quinonez and Adam Gemili off the bend. 

Lyles reflects on his victory

"I have run so many different races, from childhood, through youths, through juniors, where I have won from different positions – from the back of races, from the middle of races, from first.

"So I just knew I could pull out a win from any position. It’s those years of experiences that meant I could win.

“I got one out of two, let’s put it like that. I got the gold, which was the number one part of the plan. A fast time was number of two. But if you try to force a fast time it won’t come.

"Another time I will have that moment. I was truthfully shooting for a 19.3."

17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 - Day Five

100m and 200m double in Tokyo

But perhaps the most exciting news that came from Lyles' post-race comments was confirmation that he will be challenging for both the 200m and 100m at Tokyo 2020.

After reeling himself in for his maiden World Championships by shunning the shorter sprint, Lyles is now ready to lay down a fascinating challenge to Christian Coleman.

Coleman, who claimed the 100m title in 9.76 seconds, doesn't exactly see eye-to-eye with his livelier compatriot and lost to him earlier in the year at the Shanghai Diamond League.

There's still a mutual respect between the two - they share a relay team, after all - but there's also the opportunity for a rivalry that could resuscitate the sport's blue riband event.

"I'm definitely going after the 100-200 double," Lyles revealed with undisguised excitement.

"I know everybody is asking that, but don't worry. Tokyo is it. This time, we got the gold in the 200m, so this goal - overall - is taken care of. 

"Now we're going to go for that double gold - maybe even the triple - for Tokyo."

17th IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 - Day Five

Coleman vs Lyles

Coleman vs Lyles. It has a nice to ring to it. And it's inevitable that many people in the sport will dress the rivalry as good vs evil. 

While the former's victory in Doha was greeted with an airstrike of questions about missed doping tests, the latter's had everyone hoping that the sport's next superstar had just popped his cherry.

And now both will do battle under the five Olympics rings, the stage on which athletics welcomes its greatest exposure, and in the event most appetising to a casual audience.

Maybe we'll look back in one year's time and realise this small decision from Lyles was the answer - a crack of light through the shadow of Bolt's legacy, which still looms large.

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