Lyles, McLaughlin-Levrone impress at New York Grand Prix

athletics09 June 2024 19:59| © AFP

US sprint stars Noah Lyles and Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone impressed on their way to easy victories at the New York City Grand Prix on Sunday as Jamaican star Elaine Thompson-Herah suffered an injury scare.

Lyles, the reigning world 100m and 200m champion, blasted to victory in the 200m at a blustery Icahn Stadium in a time of 19.77sec.

Lyles got away smoothly and came off the bend in the lead and powered home down the back straight despite running into a significant headwind.

Joseph Fahnbulleh was second in 20.15sec with Lyles' brother Josephus third in 20.51sec.

In the women's 400m, McLaughlin-Levrone scorched to a world-leading time of 48.75sec.

The reigning 400m hurdles Olympic champion was racing against the clock almost from the outset as she fell just short of breaking Sanya Richards-Ross' American women's 400m record of 48.70sec.

McLaughlin-Levrone blasted out of the blocks and began reeling in her opponents before the first turn and then left the field trailing in her wake after a devastating burst over the last 200m.

However a strong headwind coming down the home straight probably proved decisive in her failure to eclipse Richards-Ross' record.

"So close," McLaughlin-Levrone said after just missing out on the US record. "I just wanted to get out there and get a race under me."

The women's 100m meanwhile was won by Nigeria's Favour Ofili in 11.18sec, ahead of Morolake Akinosun in 11.20sec and Aleia Hobbs of the United States in 11.21sec.

But the race was overshadowed by an apparent injury to Jamaica's Thompson-Herah, the two-time Olympic 100m and 200m champion.

The 31-year-old trailed home last in 11.48sec and was later carried away from the track with what reports in Jamaican media said was an Achilles injury.

The men's 100m meanwhile saw a bizarre turn of events with 2022 world champion Fred Kerley refusing to race after a problem with his starting blocks.

Nigeria's Udodi Onwuzurike took the honors in 10.24sec with US duo Kendal Williams (10.25sec) and Pjai Austin (10.26sec) second and third.

But the post-race inquest focused on Kerley's decision to walk away from the race.

The 29-year-old later explained that he declined to race after officials were unable to provide him with new starting blocks.

"They were just taking too long; I asked for some new blocks because one of the pads was broken," Kerley told reporters.

"I slipped the first time, I slipped a second time, and I was not going to let it happen a third time," said Kerley, adding that he had not been willing to risk injury with the US Olympic trials in Eugene looming later this month.

"We were getting cold and this is a small meet. The bigger meet is in two weeks."