EUGENE, Oregon (Reuters) -World champion Noah Lyles reeled in Erriyon Knighton to win the men’s 200 metres in 19.67 seconds at the U.S. championships on Sunday, while national collegiate champion Abby Steiner showed no signs of burnout by dominating the women’s race.
Lyles trailed Knighton coming off the turn but charged down the final stretch, grinning and flashing a ‘finger gun’ at the teenager as he broke the tape two hundredths of a second ahead on the final day of the meet in Eugene, Oregon.
“I do what it takes to win and Erriyon got the best of me on the turn – I ain’t worried about that,” said Lyles. “I said, ‘I’m gonna catch him – it’s just going to take the whole rest of the 100’.”
Olympic bronze medallist Lyles, who denied the 18-year-old a spot on the podium in Tokyo, clearly got under Knighton’s skin in Eugene, which will host the first world championships to be held in the United States from July 15.
After the race, Knighton stormed off during a televised interview alongside Lyles, saying: “I’m not finished.”
Steiner saw off more experienced opponents to win the women’s final, her time of 21.77 the best in the world this season until Shericka Jackson posted 21.55 at the Jamaican trials later in the evening.
“Coming off of the collegiate season, a lot of people want to put limitations on you, saying you’re going to be burnt out, but me and my coach trusted the process,” said Steiner.
Tamara Clark was second in 21.92 and Tokyo relay silver medallist Jenna Prandini came third in 22.01.
Olympic bronze medallist Gabrielle Thomas, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, finished last and 2019 world silver medallist Brittany Brown finished fifth.
Fan-favourite Sha’Carri Richardson failed to advance to the final after coming up short in the 100m as well.
The top three finishers in Eugene, who met certain qualifying standards, and reigning global title-holders will compete at the world championships.
In the 110m hurdles, world leader Devon Allen secured his spot by the skin of his teeth, clinching third by three thousandths of a second, in 13.09.
Daniel Roberts won in 13.03 and Trey Cunningham was second in 13.08, while reigning world champion Grant Holloway opted out of the final.
Olympic champion Athing Mu took control early and survived a challenge from twice world bronze medallist Ajee Wilson down the final stretch to win the women’s 800m in 1:57.16.
“It was a fast field,” said Mu, who also a 4x400m relay gold in Tokyo. “Ajee was right on me, I just wanted to push a little harder and get to the line.”
Wilson finished seven hundredths of a second behind Mu, with Raevyn Rogers third in 1:57.96.
World and Olympic 400m hurdles silver medallist Rai Benjamin stormed to victory in a world-leading 47.04 ahead of Trevor Bassitt and Khallifah Rosser.
Benjamin, who is still regaining his fitness after testing positive for COVID-19, chopped his steps at the second hurdle but turned on the gas in the second half of the race.
“This weekend was a lot on me. Feeling kind of banged up, honestly,” he said in a televised interview.
Four-times world champion and twice Olympic gold medallist Christian Taylor, whose plans for Tokyo were derailed by a torn Achilles tendon, finished fifth in the triple jump but will advance to the worlds as defending champion.
World indoor bronze medallist Donald Scott won with a leap of 17.07m, with Will Claye second and Chris Benard third.
World indoor silver medallist Chase Ealey won the women’s shotput with a world-leading 20.51m, with Adelaide Aquilla and Jessica Woodard taking second and third.
World indoor bronze medallist Bryce Hoppel clinched the men’s 800m in 1:44.60.
World silver medallist Emma Coburn won the steeplechase, while Courtney Wayment and Tokyo silver medallist Courtney Frerichs also booked their spot at the world championships.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Eugene, Oregon and Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Christian Radnedge, Himani Sarkar and Peter Rutherford)