Doha (AFP)

The new star of athletics? The American sprinter Noah Lyles, ultra-powerful for two years, must finally show that he is worthy of the greatest by winning a big championship, from Tuesday in the final of the 200 m.

First big shot of his young career, Noah Lyles became the 4th best performer in history on the half-lap track running a breathtaking 19 sec 50 in Lausanne on July 12.

In front of him on historical balance sheets? Legend Usain Bolt (19.19, world record), Jamaican Yohan Blake (19.26) and American Michael Johnson (19.32). That heavy.

Since 2017, Noah Lyles progresses at a constant speed and is gradually becoming the N.1 sprinter on the planet. Despite his young age (22 years), he has 15 wins in 16 races over 200 m in three seasons.

The only rider to beat him this year, his compatriot Michael Norman (19.70 June 6 in Rome), favors the 400m in Doha, leaving him a priori free field for the world title. Turkish defender Ramil Guliyev, Canadian backing Andre De Grasse (3rd in Saturday's 100m) or Jamaican Yohan Blake, who has lost his superb, do not seem to be able to challenge him on Tuesday.

- Silver hair -

After securing playoffs, Lyles was quick in the semi-finals on Monday and won in 19 sec 86 ahead of Ecuadorian Alex Quinonez (19.95).

Great lover of pop culture, painter and rapper at his hours, the smiling Lyles dyed the silver hair for the series of these Championships, in tribute to Akira Toriyama's "Dragon Ball" fighting manga (for the purists , the silver dye corresponds to the "ultra instinct", a state of all power of the main character).

Full sprinter, Lyles also shines 100m: he won the two finals of the Diamond League this year (100m in Zürich in 9.98 and 200m in Brussels in 19.74). In the straight line, he had even offered the scalp of his compatriot Christian Coleman, new world champion, in Shanghai in May (9.86 both, decided in the thousandth).

"I said it, I want everything, the titles and the records ... Of course in the first place I want the gold medal, no matter the time, I'll be ready, but I feel very good ... ", said Lyles after the 200-meter runs on Monday.

"Running in less than 19 seconds, I think it's possible, and if you do not believe it, I think you have nothing to do with the sport."

- The double in Tokyo -

For the World Cup in Doha, Lyles took the bet, criticized by former Trinidadian sprinter Ato Boldon (world champion 1997 in the 200m), to focus on the half-lap track.

And for good reason: despite his immense talent, the Floridian has not won anything yet, and does not even have any medals in the big league.

In 2016, he failed to qualify for the Rio Games in the US selections (4th in the 200m in 2016). Then in 2017, he injured himself before the World Championships in London and can not defend his chances.

"The Worlds, I've been waiting for this since 2017, it's been so long, but I have no pressure as I have never participated in a major championship," he says to try to play down.

Lyles must therefore reassure Doha on his ability to go for a great title, before having a unique opportunity to become the king of the sprint: next year, he assured he would try the double at the Tokyo Games.

© 2019 AFP