Deji’s doodles: Noah Lyles’ quality steals the headline in Boston, Femke Bol is unstoppable indoors, and more
We are back like we never left. The athletics season is back in full swing as we had headline meets in America and Europe. The likes of Grant Holloway, Noah Lyles, and Tara Davis-Woodhall stole the show at the New Balance Indoor meet, while Femke Bol and Julien Alfred continued to shine. Here are some of the talking points from last weekend’s action.
Noah Lyles’s fixes continue to get better over the 60m after he won at the New Balance Indoor meet.
Very few persons would have predicted Noah Lyles not to win the men’s 60m at the New Balance Indoor meet in Boston this past weekend. What might not have been feasible was to run a staggering 6.44s. It was a new Personal Best for Lyles and a World Lead to take home.
It’s already common knowledge that Lyles isn’t the greatest of starters as a sprinter, but judging by what he has been able to achieve in the last 12 months, both indoors and outdoors, then we might as well make him a favorite to win at the world indoors in Glasgow.
Noah Lyles, 6.44, Ackeem Blake, 6.45, a classic 60 meters! photo by Kevin Morris, 2024 NB Indoor GP
Sluggish or not, Lyles has the heart and fight to challenge anyone on their day. Having opened his heat with a decent 6.54s, chalking off 0.07s from his PB in the final is a great deal. As he said after the race, he just needs to be around the chasing pack the first few meters, and he will take it from there. This win has surely skyrocketed his confidence, and it can only get better from here.
More important is the confidence it will give him ahead of the outdoor season. Despite winning his first outdoor medal in the 100m last year, there is still a bit of trepidation about him not being the absolute favorite when he lines up in the blue ribband event. This is what this win in Boston does. To an extent. Let’s see if he can make it more certain in Glasgow.
Tobi Amusan breaks the 60mH African Record again!
Just over two weeks after Tobi Amusan broke the indoor African record by clocking 7.77s at the Astana Indoor Meet in Kazakstan, it threw up a chain of if, not when will the Indoor world record fall? Perhaps stiffer competition will push her to lower the record. That’s what happened in Boston as he chalked off 0.02s from her Record and the African Record, too.
Not since the Olympic year in 2021 did she run a series of indoor races to build herself for the outdoor season. Then she chalked up eight races, with her best being 7.94s then. How far she has gotten is a testament to her immense talent and willingness to improve. After the race, she talked about how she had a pact with her coach to run three 7.7s indoors, and she would be allowed to go to Glasgow.
Tobi Amusan, photo by Kevin Morris, 2024 NB Indoor GP
That seems to be the case as it is two out of two, although she placed second here in Boston behind Tia Jones, who powered through to win in 7.72, with Amusan 0.03 behind. To be fair to Amusan, she’s not always been the very first to get off the blocks in her outdoor races, but once she gets into her strides, there isn’t any stopping her.
With this new-found form indoors and her much-improved start, Amusan will have her eyes fixed on taking down the indoor world record. The current world record of 7.68 is held by Sweden’s Susanna Kallur. Although it feels far away, but certainly not too much for Amusan, who went from running 12.4s outdoors to breaking the world record with 12.12s.
Femke Bol sounds a note of warning to her rivals as she storms to the Indoor 400m world lead in Metz.
One of the beauties about Track and Field is that as you get to the very top as an athlete, it becomes largely predictable the sort of results you will churn out, especially when you come up against lowly ranked athletes. It can only mean one thing; a race against time. And although it might seem largely drilled, it still gets the fans thrilled.
That was the case with Dutch sensation Femke Bol. Ever since she broke the indoor 400m world record last year, the bar had been set high, and she needed to live up to the expectation as she smashed through the 50-second barrier for 400m at the Indoor tour Silver meet in France.
Femke Bol sets 500m WR, New Balance Indoor Grand Prix Track & Field
Boston, Massachusetts, USA
February 3, 2023
World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting, photo by Kevin Morris
There, Bol set a new record with the fastest 400m/200m indoor double, clocking 49.69 and 22.64. It surpasses Jarmila Kratochvílová’s unofficial record (49.64/22.76) held since 1981. Bol’s achievement is remarkable in breaking a longstanding mark in track history. Less we forget, Bol broke the indoor 400mw world record last year and will be looking to lower her mark again.
The big question is how much progress this makes to her outdoor record in the 400m Hurdles- her specialist event. Marileidy Paulino is the world champion outdoors, and Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone is the world record holder in the 400nH. Both sprinters are specialists in their events, while Bol is incredibly good at both. Surely, she can’t do both at the Paris Olympics. Whatever she decides, though, she will be the favorite to claim to win either one in Paris. But for now, no one can touch her heading into the world indoors in Glasgow.
Julien Alfred picked up where she left off in March in Albuquerque.
Julien Alfred, the winner of the Bowerman Award, has continued her impressive indoor performance as a professional athlete. Last year, she blistered to a 6.94 and 22.01 in both the 60m and 200m indoors, taking her second on the all-time list of athletes in both events. After turning Professional in June, in December, she began representing Preeminence Sports in her first year as a professional.
Over the weekend in Albuquerque, Alfred ran the 200 meters in a world-leading time of 22.16. This achievement has positioned her alongside Russian athlete Irina Privalova and American competitor Abby Steiner as the only women in world indoor history to run sub-22.20 multiple times.
Julian Alfred takes the 200m, photo by How Lao Photography.
It’s almost like she’s made for the indoor track. Effortless and smooth on her path. Her recent effort of 22.16 now ranks as the No. 7 mark in indoor history. Her consistent excellence in the event reflects her exceptional talent and places her among the elite athletes in the world.
Expectations weren’t sky-high last year after she turned professional, as many still saw her as a greenhorn trying to navigate the