On a day when nine meeting records fell at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, perhaps the one with the biggest impact came from Noah Lyles as the US sprinter charged to a 6.44 victory over 60m at the World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting in Boston on Sunday (4).
Last year Lyles showed that he was more than just a 200m specialist by taking gold over 100m, 200m and 4x100m at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23. After winning the 60m in Boston, the 26-year-old declared that he has his sights set on winning a world title over the shortest sprint discipline in Glasgow next month.
He won his heat in 6.54, finishing 0.05 ahead of 2018 world indoor bronze medallist Ronnie Baker. Domestic rival Fred Kerley, the 2022 world 100m champion, won the second heat in 6.57 – a PB by default, given it was his first ever indoor 60m race.
Kerley got off to a strong start in the final, but it was Jamaica’s Ackeem Blake who then powered into a lead and he looked to be on his way to victory. But, as he often does in his outdoor races, Lyles timed his finish to perfection with a late-race surge to get to the finish line first in 6.44.
Not only was it a PB by 0.07 and a world-leading mark, it also shaved 0.01 off the meeting record set 25 years ago by Maurice Greene. Blake was a close second in 6.45 and Baker took third in 6.54, just 0.01 ahead of Kerley.
“My confidence has now sky rocketed,” said Lyles. “Let’s go get a world indoor medal!”
USA’s Tia Jones got the evening off to an explosive start, winning the 60m hurdles in a world-leading meeting record of 7.72.
In what was the first discipline on the main programme, Jones was up against world leader Devynne Charlton and outdoor world record-holder Tobi Amusan. Both of those women performed at or near their best, but it wasn’t enough to catch Jones, who powered through to win in 7.72, just 0.04 shy of the world indoor record.
Amusan was second in an African record of 7.75 while Charlton was close behind in third in 7.76, just 0.01 shy of her recent Bahamian record. For the first time in history, four women broke 7.85 in one race as Masai Russell took fourth in 7.84.
“The race was pretty clean, but we still have some work to do,” said Jones, the 2018 world U20 champion. “I’ve been having troubles with my start, but if I can get that first half right, then I can get closer to the world record.”
The meeting record also fell in the men’s 60m hurdles as two-time world champion Grant Holloway extended his unbeaten streak in the event to a 10th year.
The world indoor record-holder equalled his own meeting record of 7.37 to win his heat, while 2022 world silver medallist Trey Cunningham took the other heat in a season’s best of 7.44.
Holloway went on to dominate the final in 7.35, the fifth-fastest time of his career and equal to his best ever season opener. Cunningham took second place in 7.49, marginally ahead of world bronze medallist Daniel Roberts, who was given the same time for third place.
In other sprint action, world indoor silver medallist Mikiah Brisco was a convincing winner of the women’s 60m in a season’s best of 7.10.
Area records for Arop and Hull
World 800m champion Marco Arop wrapped up his brief but impressive indoor campaign by winning the 1000m in a North American indoor record of 2:14.74 – the second-fastest indoor clocking in history.
In what turned out to be a solo run, the Canadian went through 400m in 52.84 and 600m in 1:19.60, by which point he had a 1.3-second lead over USA’s Bryce Hoppel. Arop continued to extend his lead with each lap, going through 800m in 1:46.69 before powering through the last lap to win by more than two seconds in 2:14.74.
Hoppel took the runner-up spot in 2:16.91, just ahead of US compatriot Sam Ellis (2:17.10).
Australia’s Jess Hull produced an impressive final lap to sprint past world indoor silver medallist Elle St Pierre and win the 3000m in an Oceanian indoor record of 8:24.93.
The field was paced through the first 1000m in 2:47.87 and half way in 4:12.63, after which St Pierre took up the running, going through 2000m in 5:39.38. St Pierre, who is returning to action following a maternity break last year, kicked on the final lap and looked to be on her way to victory, but Hull responded and caught the US runner just before the line, winning in a meeting record of 8:24.93.
St Pierre was rewarded with a PB of 8:25.25, while Ethiopia’s indoor debutante Melknat Wudu took third place in 8:32.34, breaking the world U20 indoor record set 20 years ago by Tirunesh Dibaba.
Meeting records were also broken by Lamecha Girma in the men’s 3000m and Gudaf Tsegay in the women’s 1500m.
Girma was ahead of world indoor record pace at one point, but with no opponents to help push him, the steeplechaser’s pace faded over the final few laps. Nevertheless, he finished comfortably inside the meeting record to win by 10 seconds in 7:29.09. Kenya’s Edwin Kurgat was a distant runner-up in 7:39.38.
Tsegay was pushed by younger compatriot Birke Haylom throughout the women’s 1500m, but held on to win in a US indoor all-comers’ record of 3:58.11. Haylom was second in a world U20 indoor record of 3:58.43.
In a clash of global middle-distance gold medallists, world road mile champion Hobbs Kessler got the better of 2022 world champion Jake Wightman in the 1500m. Kessler kicked ahead on the final two laps to win in a PB of 3:33.66, while Wightman – returning from an injury-hit 2023 – finished second in 3:34.06, also a PB.
Meeting records were broken in the first rounds of both long jump contests. Jamaica’s Carey McLeod sailed out to 8.20m with his first leap in the men’s event, which was ultimately enough to win by 18cm from Britain’s Jacob Fincham-Dukes.
World silver medallist Tara Davis-Woodhall opened with a world-leading 6.86m in the women’s event and backed it up with leaps of 6.83m in rounds three and six.
Elsewhere, world 200m silver medallist Gabby Thomas won the women’s 300m in a world-leading 35.75, just 0.02 shy of her own meeting record. 2016 world U20 champion Sammy Watson won the women’s 800m in 2:01.20 and world 4x400m champion Vernon Norwood took the men’s 400m in 45.76.