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It might not have been spectacular, but Noah Lyles became world champion at the first time of asking when he came through to take 200m gold in Doha.

As the 22-year-old celebrated and savoured what will surely be the first of many major titles, however, Britain’s Adam Gemili found himself at the very opposite end of the emotional scale.

The Briton had run himself into a clear lead coming off the bend and, for a few moments, he dared to dream. The former European champion just could not hold his form, however, and Lyles began to edge past on his left, while Olympic silver medallist Andre De Grasse did likewise on the right.

The American hit the line first in 19.83 (0.3 m/sec) ahead of his Canadian rival’s 19.95, while Gemili’s agony was complete when Ecuador’s Alex Quinonez managed snatch bronze in 19.98 and he was forced to settle for fourth in 20.03.

“I had it,” said a disconsolate Gemili, who will now hope to bounce back as Britain’s 4x100m relay team prepare to defend their world title later this week.

“I just lost all my bounce at the end. I had nothing left. All my form went out of the window and I just ran like such an amateur. I just can’t believe that, I came so close.

“This was such a good opportunity. I’ve been running so well through the heats; my body feels good and I let it go when I had it. I don’t like apologising for a performance, but I feel like I’ve let so many people down. There are so many people that have believed in me who have sent me so many nice messages over the last few days.”

He added: “The last two years I’ve been plagued by injuries, but I’ve got back to where I should be, so to not to break 20 seconds is so disappointing and heart-breaking. I had the medal and it just slipped out of my hands.”

For Lyles, a sprinter renowned for his flamboyance, the nature of his victory almost felt low-key and Usain Bolt’s world record of 19.19 is safe for the time being.

The new champion’s satisfaction was clear, however.

“So many times this year I’ve thought of being world champion, you wouldn’t believe it,” said Lyles, whose father Kevin was awarded a gold medal when he ran in the heat on the way to America winning the 4x400m world relay in Gothenburg 24 years ago.

“I have on my phone, I say it to myself in my car, I think it all the time – and finally to have done it feels unbelievable.

“I don’t know how many people come to their first World Championships and get the gold, but I’ve done it. I just knew no matter what position I found myself in I can always find a way to come through. And when I crossed the line I just felt relief. This time last year I’d only just started running. Think of that. Don’t say I’m the new Bolt. I’m me. If you like me, I’ll happily entertain you. It’s my time.”

Source: AW

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