Lyles and Katzberg Shine: North American Athletes Triumph at World Athletics Championships Day 2
Noah Lyles and Ethan Katzberg emerged as winners from the North American, Central American, and Caribbean (NACAC) Area on the second day of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest on the 23rd.
American Lyles, who had placed high expectations on himself for the sprint double, began his journey with a world-leading time of 9.83 to secure the gold in the men’s 100m. Lyles, known for his typically slow start, had to summon his reserves in the final 40 meters to catch and outpace the leaders.
The race was so closely contested that Letsile Tebogo of Botswana, Zharnes Hughes of Great Britain, and Oblique Seville of Jamaica all finished with times of 9.87, crossing the line simultaneously. However, in the photo finish review, the silver and bronze medals were awarded in that exact order, which meant that Seville narrowly missed out for the second consecutive year.
Lyles expressed his satisfaction and emphasized that the heaviest burden has now been lifted from his shoulders.
“I have suffered many losses, even in the 100m. At the USA Championships during the time of Covid, I secured a bronze medal, but many people wrote me off right then and there. I knew what I had to accomplish. I arrived here with the aim of winning three gold medals, and I’ve now achieved one; the others are on the way. The 100m was the most challenging one,” Lyles commented.
In the men’s hammer event, Katzberg hurled the hammer to a new Canadian record of 81.25 meters. Katzberg dominated the hammer competition, achieving two throws exceeding 81 meters, with the winning distance and 81.11 on his sixth attempt.
Wojciech Nowicki of Poland secured the silver with the only other 81-meter throw of the day, registering 81.02 as his best mark.
Katzberg acknowledged feeling “a little nervous” before the competition began. “However, with my initial throw, I gained some confidence, and I was greatly content with my progress during the event. I endeavored not to get overly excited and kept myself composed. Achieving a personal best and becoming a world champion is truly an incredible feeling,” he stated.
In the women’s long jump, United States’ Tara Davis-Woodhall leaped 6.91m, earning the silver medal behind Ivana Vuleta of Serbia, whose 7.14m jump stands as the best mark of the year.
Davis-Woodhall expressed that she “can’t even find the words” to describe her emotions after winning the silver medal. “I’m incredibly thrilled. My mind is a whirlwind, and it’s surreal to have this medal hanging around my neck. I’ve faced numerous challenges this season, and ending it with this medal brings me immense happiness.”
The USA secured another medal through Anna Hall in the women’s heptathlon, as she amassed 6,720 points, trailing Great Britain’s Katarina Johnson-Thompson, who recorded 6,740 points.
Hall, who acclaimed her 2023 season as the “year of my life,” takes pride in her accomplishments. “My primary goal was to win, and I genuinely believed I trained hard this year to achieve the highest score. Yet, at this moment, I am incredibly proud of myself.”
Meanwhile, the world’s fastest women took to the track on the second day of the championship.
All the prominent figures, led by Sha’Carrie Richardson’s time of 10.92, defending champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s 11.01, and world leader Shericka Jackson’s 11.06, advanced to the semi-finals scheduled for Monday.
Julien Alfred of St. Lucia recorded the third fastest time of the day at 10.99, and American Britany Brown, with a time of 11.01, also secured a place in the semi-finals.
In the women’s 400m, Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic led the qualifiers with a time of 49.90. Jamaicans Candice McLeod, with a time of 50.39, and Nickisha Pryce, clocking in at 50.38, have also advanced to the semifinals.
Steven Gardiner, the reigning champion from Doha 2019, who had to skip the Eugene 22 event due to injury, effortlessly secured his place with a time of 44.65.
BY: ANTHONY FOSTER FOR NACAC ATHLETICS