Tom Jones Memorial: Noah Lyles beats fellow Kenny Bednarek in 100m photo finish

Six-time world champion Noah Lyles Noah Lyles narrowly beat rival Kenny Bednarek on his outdoor season debut at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational.

American sprint sensation Noah Lyles kicked off his outdoor season in stunning fashion, securing victory over Olympic 200m silver medallist Kenny Bednarek at the prestigious Tom Jones Memorial Invitational in Gainesville, Florida on Saturday.

 Lyles, the 26-year-old who clinched a remarkable sprint treble at last year’s World Championships in Budapest, crossed the line in the 100m dash with a blistering time of 10.01 seconds. 

In a photo-finish showdown, both Lyles and Bednarek were awarded the same time, but Lyles clinched the win by a mere five-thousandths of a second.

The highly-anticipated meet featured a star-studded lineup of college athletics talent alongside seasoned veterans competing in Olympic Development (OD) races. 

Among the standout performances was the remarkable display by rising star Jacious Sears, who stamped her authority in the collegiate 100m event with a world-leading time of 10.77 seconds, slashing nearly two-tenths off her previous personal best.

The 22-year-old University of Tennessee senior ascended to second on the all-time NCAA list, trailing just behind Sha’Carri Richardson’s record-setting mark from 2019.

In the OD races, World Championship relay gold medallist Tamari Davis surged to victory in the women’s 100m with a commanding performance, clocking a swift 10.94 seconds. 

Meanwhile, sprint hurdles world record holder Tobi Amusan faced tough competition but delivered a commendable performance, finishing 13th overall with a time of 11.26 seconds.

Nia Ali, the 2019 world champion in the sprint hurdles, showcased her versatility by clinching victory in the flat 100m event with a world-leading time of 12.44 seconds, narrowly edging out her rivals in a fiercely contested race.

In the men’s events, three-time world 110m hurdles champion Grant Holloway cruised to victory in the OD final, clocking an impressive time of 13.21 seconds. 

Bryce Deadmon emerged triumphant in the 400m dash, crossing the finish line in 45.20 seconds ahead of Brazil’s world champion hurdler Alison dos Santos. 

Notably, Matthew Boling, a key member of the USA’s world record-breaking mixed relay quartet, showcased his prowess by securing second place overall in the 400m with a time of 45.23 seconds.

The meet also witnessed standout performances in the 200m events, with Courtney Lindsey blazing to victory in the men’s race with a scorching time of 19.88 seconds, while Nigeria’s Favour Ofili clinched the women’s OD race in 22.33 seconds, comfortably surpassing the Olympic qualifying standard in her debut professional season.

Adding to the excitement, Chris Robinson of the University of Alabama set a world-leading mark in the 400m hurdles, breaking the 48-second barrier for the first time with a stellar performance of 47.95 seconds, further raising the bar in the highly competitive realm of track and field.

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