Michael Norman missed out on a place on the US Olympic team for this event by two places and a mere 0.14 but the 18-year-old is expected to bounce back with victory in Bydgoszcz.
Norman was even tipped for a top-three finish at the US Olympic Trials earlier this month after running a wind-aided 20.06 in the heats and winning his semi-final against a strong headwind in 20.21, but experience played out in the end with three more experience athletes filling the podium.
Sprinting is very much in Norman’s genes. His mother is an 11.7 100m sprinter and his father is a 47-second 400m runner. Norman also ran the 400m at the Olympic Trials but the 200m has been his standout event this year.
His biggest rival might come from Botswana in the shape of the exciting prospect Baboloki Thebe. The 19-year-old has entered the 200m and 400m but he will surely have to choose just one event with both finals taking place on the same evening.
With Anaso Jobodwana and Wayde van Niekerk leading the way, South Africa is emerging as a nation of sprinters and their second generation is expected to excel in Bydgoszcz.
Clarence Munyai and Tlotliso Leotleta are the third and fifth fastest entrants with times of 20.36 and 20.47 respectively. “Both of them are capable of running faster times and it will not be long before they do so,” said their coach Hennie Kriel.
With a 20.40 season’s best, Jamaica’s Nigel Ellis is also expected to feature, while Youth Olympic champion Sydney Siame from Zambia is another contender.
Notable absentees include Norman’s teammate Noah Lyles, who finished one place ahead of him at the US Olympic Trials final in 20.09, and double world U18 champion Abdul Hakim Sani Brown, who has a thigh injury.
Sani Brown, who broke Bolt’s championship record over 200m in Cali last summer, will be eligible for the 2018 World U20 Championships.
Steven Mills for the IAAF