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Report18 Feb 2024

Lyles pips Coleman to claim US indoor 60m crown


Noah Lyles wins the 60m at the US Indoor Championships (© Getty Images)

Noah Lyles became a six-time World Athletics Championships gold medallist because of his elite top-end speed but in spite of his start, which he has called the “worst part of my race.”

The combination made him the world’s fastest man – with a flaw.

No longer, perhaps. 

In winning the US Indoor Championships 60m gold in a personal best and world-leading 6.43 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on Saturday (17), Lyles beat Christian Coleman, the 60m world record-holder and one of the sport’s fastest out of the blocks, by 0.01 to demonstrate yet again during this indoor season that he has refined his technique and reduced his vulnerabilities.

Lyles left the blocks with the fifth-fastest reaction time in a field of eight, yet believed “this race is mine” after just two steps. He has spent the season focusing on his technique, particularly between 10 and 20 metres. 

For all of his achievements, Lyles had never made a World Athletics Indoor Championships team until Saturday. He will enter the competition in Glasgow next month with the expectation that his best indoor season will continue.

“World domination,” Lyles said while standing next to Coleman. “We the best in the world.”

“I’m hyped, I’m beyond excited,” Lyles later added. “It’s one thing to run fast but it’s another thing to run fast against the greatest in the world and that’s truly what happened here today. You know, everyone was excited about this matchup and I was excited about this matchup.”

Their duel closed a day on which the theatrics went beyond just one race.

Aleia Hobbs won the women’s 60m in 7.02 to earn her trip to Glasgow along with Mikiah Brisco, second in 7.06.

In the 400m, Alexis Holmes ran a championship record of 50.34 to put her second on this season's top list behind world record-holder Femke Bol.

In the men’s shot put, Ryan Crouser was just two centimetres short of his best ever official indoor throw. With 22.80m on his fifth attempt, the world record-holder surpassed Leonardo Fabbri’s seven-day-old world lead of 22.37m. 

Like Lyles, Crouser has compiled one of his sport’s most dominating lists of career achievements, yet has never won gold at the World Indoor Championships.

On the track, Cole Hocker won the 1500m in a championship record 3:37.51 by bursting out of a pack with three laps remaining into first place with an inside move along the track’s rail, slipping past John Reniewicki. Hocker, who has never trained at altitude such as Albuquerque’s, had a plan to attack on the track’s straightaways, and it helped him handily beat 20-year-old Hobbs Kessler, who made his first world indoor team in 3:38.76.

“It’s not often you get to walk away from a race and feel like you 100% executed the plan, but that was pretty dang close to what I wanted to do today,” Hocker said. “I think the altitude, I had to think about it a little bit, but it’s three and a half minutes of racing. And I kind of told myself, ‘It’s 5000 feet, I think I can get through three and a half minutes.”

At 800m, Bryce Hoppel moved from second to first on the final lap to win his fourth US indoor title in 1:46.67. He made his move just before the final curve to pass the leader, Abraham Alvarado, and Isaiah Harris followed that lead as part of a 26.06 final lap to finish second in 1:46.78 and earn the second berth to Glasgow.

The most dramatic late movement of the day, however, belonged to 400m winner Brian Faust. At the race’s halfway point, Faust was 0.58 behind the leader, yet he leaned past Jacory Patterson for the victory in 45.47 by moving from third to first all in the final straight. 

On the same day that Molly Caudery of Great Britain set the season’s world-leading pole vault mark of 4.85m in Birmingham, Katie Moon won her second consecutive US indoor title, and fourth overall of her career, by clearing 4.80m. 

Moon had dealt with tightness in her achilles tendon during the past two weeks, to the point it became “painfully tight” only one week earlier in France. Still, it did not hinder Moon as she made four consecutive clearances, then skipped 4.85m and raised the bar to 4.90m in an attempt to set a world lead only hours after Caudery’s performance. Moon missed all three attempts. Sandi Morris was second at 4.75m. 

As the Olympic champion in Tokyo and gold medallist at the World Athletics Championships in 2022 and 2023, Moon has become the vaulter to beat in global championships. Yet Saturday also underscored that Caudery will be her chief competition as Moon seeks the indoor global gold that has so far eluded her.

Nikki Hiltz won the women’s 1500m in 4:08.35 by taking a two-stride lead entering the bell lap and holding off Emily Mackay. Elle St. Pierre, who won the 3000m the night before, ultimately did not contest the 1500m. 

The 800m title was claimed by Allie Wilson in 2:00.63, just 0.07 ahead of 20-year-old Addie Wiley.

Keturah Orji claimed the triple jump victory in 14.50m, a season’s best, though she does not have the standard for the World Indoor Championships. Neither does men’s long jump champion Johnny Brackins, the collegian from USC, who won in 8.23m, a wind-legal personal best both indoor and outdoor. Like all competitors who finished among the top two at the US Championships, both still can qualify for the global event via world rankings.

Erin Reese won the women’s weight throw with a PB of 25.73m that ranks second all-time behind only DeAnna Price’s best set one year to the day earlier. 

Andrew Greif for World Athletics