2019 Rome DL Diary: The Men's 200 meters


This is Stuart Weir's first piece on the Rome DL. Of course, he had to write about the men's 200 meters. The battle between Micheal Norman and Noah Lyles in the 200 meters is one for the ages. Our sport is built on rivalries. This one is very special. This is how Stuart saw the 200 meters...

P1080818.JPGStadio Olimpico, photo by Stuart Weir

Men's 200

There were several races of the night - the women's 100, the women's 1500 for example, but the one I will pick is the men's 200m. Last week in Stockholm, Michael Norman won the 400m. Tonight he was going in the 200m which had a loaded field. There was Noah Lyles, the world champion, Ramil Guliyev and Jereem Richards, also a medallist at the last world championship. Gene Cherry remarked to me after the race that he had expected to see a world leading time but had expected it to come from Lyles not Norman.

In the event Michael Norman made it two from two in consecutive weeks winning in 19.70 (PR, MR and WL) with Lyles 0.02 seconds behind. Alex Quinonez of Ecuador was third with world champion Ramil Guliyev fourth. Leon Reid ran 20.83, a decent early season time if he had been in a different race!

The bad news is that Norman thinks he can get better! He said afterwards: "I still have a lot of technical issues with myself, like: be patient. I am really happy with the time, there was a good flow, it was amazing. I did not have any expectations coming into this race. I just want to improve myself and not chase a time. The atmosphere here is great and the weather, too".

But then Lyles, who admitted that he had not expected Norman to run so fast, added: "I run faster than in the last race so I can feel great things will happen".

Assuming that Norman does not concentrate solely on the 400, we can expect a number of exciting duels.

21 year old Filippo Tortu gave the home crowd something to cheer finishing fifth in 20.36, just one hundredth of a second behind Ramil Guliyev. It is early days in a long season but there could be a lot of exciting races along the way to Doha. And never forget, as Lyles reminded us, that it is premature to talk about whether he can win the World Championship as he has to get through the U.S. trials to make the team.

Rai Benjamin who also ran the 400m flat in Stockholm was in the 400m hurdles tonight. He ran a season's best 47.58 for the win. Benjamin had noticed that the main TV station in Italy is called Radiotelevisione italiana or RAI for short. As he said at the event press conference, "it looks like I own half of Italy!" At the same press conference he was asked if he thought that he or Abderrahman Samba would have to break the world record to win the World Championships this year. He said "no" adding that he was confident that Kevin Young's 1992 world record of 46.78 would go at a Diamond League prior to the World Championship. Another mouth-watering prospect.

The 110m hurdles was won by Sergey Shubenkov (ANA) in 13.26 from Andrew Pozzi (13.29). Pozzi won the world indoor last year but was never quite managed to hit the same level outdoors. For that reason he has moved to work with Santiago Antunez in Italy. He explained, after the race, that as he speeds up in the second half of the race he struggles to maintain the control that he has in the first half of the race. Making the second half of his race better is one of the things he is currently working on with his new coach.

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