Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 August 2020

Noah Lyles 'breaks' 200m world record before being told he only ran 185m

Starting block of American sprinter was placed at wrong spot during high-tech meet across different countries

A unique attempt to hold a high-tech athletics meeting with runners in different stadiums ran into problems on Thursday when world champion Noah Lyles ran too short a distance in the 200 metres event.

Lyles, running in Florida, completed the race at the Inspiration Games in 18.90 seconds – which would have broken Usain Bolt's world record of 19.19 seconds and his own personal best of 19.50s.

But, after initial confusion, his official result read 'shorter distance' and it appeared that the American had started from the wrong line; the world champion’s starting block was in the wrong place. Swiss television said he had only run 185 metres, according to Reuters.

The race was won by France's Christophe Lemaitre, running in Zurich, in 19.80 seconds, one hundredth of a second ahead of Dutchman Churandy Martina, who was running in the Netherlands.

“You can’t be playing with my emotions like this…. got me in the wrong lane smh,” Lyles tweeted later.

The meeting was the Zurich Weltklasse's answer to the coronavirus which has prevented conventional events from taking place.

It was using technology that allowed athletes compete against each other from different venues.

"Special times require special approaches and that's what we invented," Andreas Hediger, the co-director of the Inspiration Games, was quoted as saying by Reuters. "We go to the athletes if the athletes cannot come to Zurich."

The starting guns were synchronised and the three runners in each track shown on a split screen, although different camera angles made it difficult to tell who the leader was until the finish line came into view.

Updated: July 10, 2020 07:38 PM

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