Sha’Carri Richardson and Noah Lyles lit up the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, while 2024 Olympics host nation France went home without a single individual medal.
AFP Sport picks five themes from the championships in the Hungarian capital with an eye on the Paris Games in less than a year from now:
LYLES AND RICHARDSON BRING THE SASS
Track and field needs its stars and the faces of the world championships in Budapest were arguably the American sprint pair of Noah Lyles and Sha’Carri Richardson.
Lyles bagged three golds (100, 200, 4x100m relay), while Richardson won the blue riband event and anchored the women’s team to gold, while also picking up a bronze in the 200m.
The pair are outspoken and sometimes brazen in their criticism of media coverage, but there is no denying their appeal to a wider audience. The US track team for the Olympics will surely be based around them.
“It’s fantastic, isn’t it? They’re absolute rock stars, they both have come through in the most pow-erful way,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said.
JACKSON CARRYING JAMAICAN SPRINT HOPES
Jamaica’s men continue to struggle in the individual sprints, Oblique Seville’ fourth place in the 100m the best result.
Seville helped the men’s relay team to a bronze, but it is a far cry from the days of Bolt, Asafa Pow-ell and Yohan Blake dominating the speed events.
Instead it has fallen on Shericka Jackson to fly the flag, the sprinter running the second fastest time ever, 21.41sec, to retain her 200m title. “I will continue to work and I hope I can maintain at least this level and we will see if the world record will come,” Jackson said.
FRANCE UNDERWHELM WITH SOLITARY MEDAL
In what was terrible timing less than a year out from a home Olympics, 2024 Summer Games hosts France failed to bag a single individual medal in Budapest.
Their only medal was silver in the men’s 4x400m relay on the final day. There can be no hiding from the astonishingly poor return for one of Europe’s traditionally strong track and field nations.
Their sole medallist from Eugene last year, Kevin Mayer, dropped out of the decathlon with a sore achilles tendon.
“I have to accept I’m not Superman, but next year I’ll give everything to be Superman. I cannot wait to be at Paris,” Mayer said.
“My body is telling me I need to rest before the Olympic Games.”
But World Athletics president Coe, remembering his own role as chief organiser of the 2012 Lon-don Olympics, emphasised how important the seven-year lead-up to hosting a Games was, calling France’s lack of medals “a challenge”.
“They’re going to have to work hard and we need to make sure that we are doing everything we possibly can to probably work harder than we would normally have done around the track and field programme to recognise that there’s a bit of a domestic delta at the moment.” – SuperSport