Coleman, Lyles the new kids on sprinting blocks

Luke PHILLIPS
Noah Lyles Lyles after his fifth win on the Diamond League circuit this season Friday

Diamond League trophy winners Chris Coleman and Noah Lyles have confirmed their places at the forefront of a new generation of sprinters, the US duo dominating the 100 and 200m on track and field's elite circuit this season.

The retirement of Jamaican legend Usain Bolt last year left a massive gap for athletics to fill, with organisers and spectators alike worried over who would fill his rather large pair of golden spikes.

While the eight-time Olympic champion played a footballing cameo in a friendly for Australia's Central Coast Mariners, Coleman went some way to etching his name among the sprinting greats at the season-ending meet in Brussels.

The 22-year-old upstaged fancied American teammate Ronnie Baker in the 100m, clocking an impressive winning time of 19.79 seconds.

It was the fastest 100m run since Bolt won the 2015 world title in Beijing and only the Jamaican, his former teammates Yohan Blake, Asafa Powell and Nesta Carter, and the US duo of Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin have gone quicker.

Illustrious company indeed for a confident Coleman, who has battled back from a hamstring injury sustained after he set a world record when winning the world indoor 60m title in Birmingham in March.

"The sky's the limit, I'm just excited about that," said Coleman.

"I think I can go much lower. This race feels better than any other accomplishment. It feels crazy, honestly.

"Growing up, you dream of moments like this, you dream of running the best time in the world and having people talk about you saying he's the fastest man alive."

Just 24 hours previously, Lyles had wrapped up the 200m Diamond trophy.

Lyles was one of the headline acts in Zurich and the 21-year-old made no mistake as he won in 19.67sec, just two-hundredths off his personal best set in Monaco last month.

It was Lyles' fifth win on the Diamond League circuit this season.

"I came here for the win and I did it, I'm very happy," said Lyles, who has also clocked a personal best of 9.88sec over 100m this season.

- New generation -

The wannabe rap star, however, does not believe that he and Coleman will enjoy a dominance similar to Bolt's time on the track.

"I don't think that it's going to be one of those sports where it actually is going to be dominated by one person," he argued in Monaco.

"I think we'll actually have a lot of very fast runners, I don't think there'll be one dominant runner, but I do want to be the forefront runner of those dominant people!"

Along with the likes of Coleman and Rai Benjamin, Lyles said he was part of what he dubbed a "very strong moment that's happening right now".

"We're watching a lot of people shifting over, younger guys taking over from the older veterans," said the Florida native, who set a 300m indoor world record of 31.87sec at last year's US indoor champs.

"It's something exciting to be part of it because I've been watching this happen for a few years, and I felt like there was a gap when that didn't happen and now it is really happening.

"I'm really happy to be one of the forefront runners of that generation that's pushing to be the best."

Coleman echoed those sentiments, saying: "I'm looking forward to competing against these guys for the next couple of years.

"You've just got to stay up there, continue to keep on that 'A' game, and keep getting better to make sure I stay on top!"