Noah Lyles among stars expressing interest in 2020 Racers Grand Prix
Glen Mills, Chairman of the Racers Grand Prix Organising Committee, makes a presentation at a Press Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday, January 23, 2020. (PHOTO: Marlon Reid).
Organisers of the Racers Grand Prix, which is now one of the 10 Gold Series meets in the inaugural World Athletics Continental Tour, have announced that USA’s sprinter Noah Lyles is among over 200 athletes who have expressed an interest to compete at the 2020 edition and fifth staging on June 13.
Lyles staked his claim as the new face of men's sprinting with victory in the 200m final at the IAAF World Championships in Doha on October 1, 2019.
Comparisons with Usain Bolt have been frequent since Lyles emerged as a hot prospect in 2018, but he has achieved something the big Jamaican did not in winning gold at his first World Championships.
Bolt took silver in the 200m behind Tyson Gay in 2007 before winning four consecutive 200m titles.
Lyles only ran the 200m in Doha, but he will double up at Tokyo 2020 with his clash with 100m world champion Christian Coleman in the shorter sprint something to look forward to.
Racers Track Club founder and head coach Glen Mills, who announced the meet details at a Press Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Thursday, also said that Wayde van Niekerk, the Olympic and world 400m champion and world-record holder has also expressed an interest.
The 27-year-old South African has been essentially sidelined from competition for the last two years since tearing a meniscus and ACL in a celebrity tag rugby match.
Van Niekerk ran 43.03 at the Rio Olympics to break Michael Johnson‘s world record.
Tajay Gayle and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the recently crowned RJRGleaner Sports Foundation Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year for 2019, are among the Jamaicans who have already expressed an interest to compete at the meet.
Double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson Herah, 2011 World Championships 100m gold medallist Yohan Blake and talented young quarter-miler Akeem Bloomfield have also indicated an interest to compete.
The World Athletics Continental Tour will focus on the disciplines that don’t feature regularly in the Diamond League.
The Continental Tour is divided into three tiers: Gold, Silver and Bronze, with an event’s status determined by the quality of competition and prize money on offer.
The events will focus on the ‘core disciplines’ of 200m sprint, 3000m steeplechase, triple jump, discus throw and hammer throw. Other ‘discretionary disciplines’ will also feature in the events.
Gold-level events will be run by World Athletics. Regional athletics associations will manage the Silver and Bronze competitions, which will number up to 100 globally each year.
Each gold event will award US$200,000 in prize money. There will be $20,000 to be won in each core discipline – compared to $32,800 in the Diamond League – with $6,000 for the winner.
Ranking points for the core disciplines will be allotted at the same level as in the Diamond League.
Wildcard entries to the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in 2021 will be on offer for the best athletes in the core disciplines.
2020 WORLD ATHLETICS CONTINENTAL TOUR GOLD LEVEL CALENDAR
May 10 – Tokyo, JPN
May 13 – Nanjing, CHN
May 22 – Ostrava, CZE
Jun 1 – Hengelo, NED
Jun 9 – Turku, FIN
Jun 13 – Kingston, JAM
Jul 7 – Szekesfehervar, HUN
Sep 6 – Silesia, POL
Sep 15 – Zagreb, CRO
*Tenth meeting to be confirmed