World champion Noah Lyles suffered a blunder at the finish line to qualify for the Olympic 200-meter semi-finals on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old inexplicably slowed down with 10 meters of his semi-final remaining and was quickly passed at the line by Canadian Aaron Brown and Liberian Joseph Fahnbulleh, all three credited with 19.99 seconds.
This meant that Lyles didn’t automatically qualify as one of the top two, but rather made an anxious wait as the third and final semi unfolded.
It was won in style by Brown’s teammate Andre de Grasse, Rio silver medalist, who set a national record of 19.73 seconds ahead of American Kenneth Bednarek in 19.83.
Lyles breathed a sigh of relief as he qualified as one of the next two fastest, along with Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago.
American teenage sensation Erriyon Knighton won the opening semi-final convincingly in 20.02 seconds, scoring a psychological blow as he casually gazed across the field no less than four times on his back to the line.
The 17-year-old will become one of the youngest finalists in the 200m when he lines up at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.
© 2021 AFP