By Gene Cherry
(REUTERS) – The speed show that is the backbone of American athletics championships takes on added significance in Des Moines, Iowa this week when the United States select a team for this year’s worlds to be held in Doha.
The year’s fastest at 100 metres, 200m and 400m, as well as the 110m hurdles and women’s 400m hurdles leaders, will be on the blue track at Drake University for the cut-throat championships/world trials, which begin today.
All five athletes are under 25 years old, which is also special, said four-time Olympic sprint medallist Ato Boldon.
“Those are not times that we have seen from Americans that age before,” Boldon, an NBC analyst, told Reuters.
The headliners, of course, are 2019’s 100-metre fastest Christian Coleman, and 200-metre wunderkind Noah Lyles.
Coleman, 23, will double up, running the 100m and 200m, with Lyles, 22, concentrating on the 200m where he will likely meet Coleman in the final race at the trials on Sunday.
Coleman, the world 100 metres silver medallist, has used his quickness out of the blocks to run the fastest 100 of the year (9.81 seconds) and joint 10th fastest 200 (19.91)
“Christian is going to go down as one of the best starters ever, if not the best,” Boldon said of the world 60 metres record holder.
“He has nothing to lose,” the analyst added of Coleman’s meeting with Lyles at 200m.
The pair have met once this year, with Lyles taking a razor-thin victory at 9.86 seconds in Shanghai.
Their last race at 200m came in the 2015 U.S. junior championships with Lyles winning and Coleman finishing fourth.
Lyles also thought of going for two titles in Des Moines after his blazing 19.50 seconds in Lausanne made him the fourth fastest-ever in the 200m. He eventually decided to stick with his best event and go for his first world championship gold medal.