From City Games to World Championships
The adidas Atlanta City Games on May 6 were billed as a chance to see the best track and field athletes in the world under the lights of Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. At the World Athletics Championships underway this week in Budapest, results and hardware are backing up that claim.
Almost two dozen
athletes representing nine countries who competed at the City Games went on to
make their national teams for the World Championships.
As of Wednesday, the
nine-day championship was more than halfway complete. So, let's take a look at
how the stars of the first annual City Games have fared thus far on the world
stage and what to look for in the second half of the competition, which ends on
Noah Lyles was the face of the City Games and last weekend he cemented his spot as
the face of U.S. sprinting. Lyles, the 150-meter champion at City Games, came
from behind to win his first global 100-meter title on Sunday afternoon in
9.83, the fastest time in the world this year.
Lyles, 26, is a two-time World Champion and the 2020 Olympic bronze medalist at 200 meters, as well as the American record-holder at that distance. But success at the shorter sprint has proved more elusive - he made his first USA team at the distance this year when he finished third at the U.S. championships, earning the last spot.
Nonetheless, never one to quietly enter a race, Lyles boldly predicted his victory in the days leading up to the World Championships. After crossing the finish line, he told NBC's Lewis Johnson: "We trained nine months for this. For this moment right here. You only got one shot to hit your peak and we made sure that it counted."
Great Britain's Zharnel
Hughes was third in the 100 meters at the City Games and that's where he
finished at the World Championships, too. This time, however, it brought him
his first global medal.
Of the eight lanes in the 100-meter final in Budapest, five featured athletes who competed in Atlanta. In addition to Lyles and Hughes, Jamaica's Oblique Seville, who won the 100 in Atlanta, was fourth. Kenya's Ferdinand Omanyala, who took third in the 150 in Atlanta in front of a large contingent of flag-waving fans, was seventh and Jamaica's Ryeim Forde, fourth in the 100 at City Games, finished eighth.
For the third consecutive time, Grant Holloway is the 110-meter hurdle World Champion and Atlanta - where he won the City Games - was an early stop on his journey to gold. On Monday, he clocked 12.96 to defeat reigning Olympic champion Hansle Parchment of Jamaica, who earned silver.
"I'm speechless right now," Holloway told the NBC broadcast. "Nothing feels like the first one, but this one I'm definitely going to cherish in my heart."
No, the City Games did not include a heptathlon, but America's best heptathlete earned a 12.90 personal best, breaking 13 seconds for the first time, in the 100-meter hurdles as part of her Budapest buildup. And now, Anna Hall is the World Championships silver medalist.
Hall, who won the bronze medal in 2022, was neck-and-neck in cumulative points over the first six disciplines with Great Britain's Katarina Johnson-Thompson going into the final event, the 800 meters. Hall won the race in a new personal best but didn't put a big enough gap on Johnson-Thompson to win gold.
"I went for it - very bittersweet," Hall said after coming off the track. "I really wanted gold and fought my heart out. Kat was just better today, I got beat and I just have to take that and use it for motivation next year."
just 20 years old, won at 150 meters in the City Games over the USA's Gabby Thomas
and Great Britain's Daryl Neita. All three are in Budapest, with Davis
finishing ninth in the 100 meters.
While not at the adidas Atlanta City Games, 2014 Atlanta Track Club All-Metro runner of the year Christian Coleman placed 6th in the 100m final. Coleman is a graduate of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School in Fayetteville.
Hampton, Georgia native Daniel Roberts who was a late scratch at City Games won the bronze medal in the 110 hurdles.
Today, Thomas and Neita continue on to the semifinals of the women's 200 meters after advancing out of the heats on Wednesday. In the men's 200, Lyles and Hughes have moved onto the semifinals as they each seek a second medal. They'll be joined by adidas Atlanta City Games 150-meter runner-up Erryion Knighton, the reigning World Championships bronze medalist. The finals are on Friday.
Keni Harrison, who won the 100-meter hurdles in Atlanta, will compete in the final today after scorching a 12.24 in Tuesday's first round - tied for the fourth-fastest time in history.
Bryce Hoppel who won the 600 road event at City Games was the only American to advance in the 800. He will compete in the semi-finals tomorrow.
You can watch a replay of the adidas Atlanta City Games here.
All photos by Kevin Morris