2023 London DL: Yared Nuguse Earns First DL Win as Noah Lyles Wins 200 Thriller in 19.47

A huge crowd made the trip to London Stadium on Sunday for the final Diamond League event before the 2023 World Championships. World feed announcers Tim Hutchings and Chris Dennis reported that 50,000 were in attendance and they got to see one of the most exciting meets of the year, highlighted by a fantastic men’s 200 won by Noah Lyles and a clash of the titans in the women’s 5,000 where world champ Gudaf Tsegay took down Olympic champ Sifan Hassan as Alicia Monson smashed Shelby Houlihan’s American record.

The 5,000 gets its own article here: LRC Gudaf Tsegay Wins Classic 5,000 at 2023 London DL as Alicia Monson (14:19) Smashes American Record

From a US perspective, the other big story was the On Athletics Club’s Yared Nuguse earning the first Diamond League 1500/mile victory by an American man in 12 years, as he ran down Norway’s Narve Nordås to win in 3:30.44. There were also big wins by Jemma Reekie in the 800 (1:57.30) and Marie-Josee Ta Lou in the 100 (10.75) after headliners Sha’Carri Richardson and Keely Hodgkinson scratched, while 19-year-old Kenyan Jackline Chepkoech became the first woman to break 9:00 in the steeple in 2023 with her 8:57.35 pb.

Analysis of all the best races below.

*Full results

Men’s 1500: Yared Nuguse earns first Diamond League win by an American man since 2011

With Jakob Ingebrigtsen sitting out a Diamond League 1500 for the first time in 2023, the win was up for grabs in London on Sunday. American Yared Nuguse was the man who took advantage, measuring his effort perfectly to win in 3:30.44 in a race that saw 14 of the 15 finishers break 3:33. The other American in the field, Cole Hocker, was 13th in 3:32.14.

Australia’s Stewart McSweyn was the only man to follow pacer Erik Sowinski on the second lap, with McSweyn opening up a 10-meter gap just after 800m, which he passed in 1:52.7.

At that point, Nuguse moved into second on the backstraight to ensure the gap did not grow any bigger, and by the bell it had shrunk to 6m with Norway’s Narve Nordås moving into 2nd.

Nordås took the lead on the backstretch, hitting McSweyn (and slightly throwing off McSweyn’s momentum) as he passed, with Nuguse passing McSweyn just before the final turn.

The lead group became crowded on the final turn with Timothy Cheruiyot and British champ Neil Gourley joining the fray. Nordås still led off the turn, with Nuguse charging on his outside and Gourley moving up on Nuguse’s outside. Nordås could not hold on, with Nuguse edging past with 30 meters remaining to win in 3:30.44 to Nordås’ 3:30.58 and Gourley’s 3:30.60.

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Quick Take: Yared Nuguse’s incredible 2023 season continues, and he is in great position to medal in Budapest

Nuguse has been so consistently good this year that it’s easy to forget that less than a year ago, he had never raced on the European pro circuit. But Nuguse reached a new level with his 7:28 American 3k record in January, and he has remained at that level throughout 2023, from his 3:47 mile AR at Millrose to his 3:29 1500 in Oslo to his US title in Eugene and now his first Diamond League win in London.

Kevin Morris photo

Reminder: Americans do not usually do this sort of thing. Before today, only one American man had ever won a Diamond League 1500/mile: Leo Manzano in 2011, also in London (though that race was at Crystal Palace). Matthew Centrowitz also won at the 2018 London Diamond League, but the 1500 was a non-DL event at that meet.

Centrowitz was the best American miler of his generation, but he never won an official Diamond League race – his best finishes in his career were 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd. By comparison, Nuguse has finished 2nd, 3rd, and 1st in the first three Diamond League races of his life this year.

Centro, of course, still owns the huge edge when it comes to global medals but Nuguse will have his first chance to close the gap in Budapest next month. He could not be in much better position. Ingebrigtsen has been on another level this year, but Nuguse has been as good as anyone else in the world. In three DLs, he has only been beaten by Ingebrigtsen (twice) and Spain’s Mo Katir, and Nuguse beat Katir earlier this year in Madrid indoors.

You need to be super fit in order to medal, which Nuguse is, but he has also shown impressive racing chops. At USAs, all the pressure was on Nuguse, but he took on the mantle of leading and responded well when challenged in the home straight. Today, he put himself in great position early, was careful to ensure McSweyn did not get too much of a gap, and timed his kick perfectly, outlasting Nordås at the end. This was a fine effort and a well-deserved first DL win for Nuguse.

Quick Take: Neil Gourley closed better than anyone but left himself with too much work to do on the final lap

The 1500 is one of the most tactically challenging races to master. In order to kick well on the final lap, you need to have something in your legs, so you can’t spend too much energy fighting for position in the first 1100. But if you’re too far back at the bell, you won’t be able to catch everyone up front. Gourley could not get the balance quite right today and finished 3rd in 3:30.60 – even though he was moving the fastest over the last lap. Gourley’s 53.5 was the best final 400 in the field (Nuguse ran 54.0) and Gourley had a better final 200 as well (26.2 to Nuguse’s 26.5) despite running the entire turn in lane 2. The difference was, Gourley was 9th at the bell and 7th with 200 to go whereas Nuguse was 2nd.

The good news for Gourley is that he still ran a pb of 3:30.60 (an improvement on his 3:30.88 in Oslo). He will be one of many men in the medal mix at Worlds.

It was an odd race, I felt like I kept trying to move but kept getting blocked so I gave myself too much to do, but I’m happy with how I closed,” Gourley told meet organizers. “I made too many mistakes, I could’ve turned it around and won it but it’s better to make the mistakes now than in Budapest.”

Quick Take: Cole Hocker runs his fastest time since Tokyo

The good news for Cole Hocker is that he ran 3:32.14 – his fastest time since his 3:31.40 in the Olympic final. The bad news is it only got him 13th place.

The fact is, 3:32 is just not the same as it was a few years ago. In 2016, 2017, and 2018, the last three years before super spikes came into use, there were 11, 11, and 14 men under 3:33 in those three years. In 2023, we’re already at 34 and still have all of August and September to go.

Today was the second time in history 12 men had run 3:32.00 or faster in the same race; the first came last month in Oslo.

Quick Take: Collegian Adam Spencer impresses

Last month, 21-year-old Aussie Adam Spencer was 3rd at NCAAs for Wisconsin behind Washington’s Nathan Green and Joe Waskom. Two weeks ago, he ran a 3:36.78 pb in Finland and yesterday got the call-up for his Diamond League debut in London. Wearing a Wisconsin singlet (with tape over the name to adhere to logo restrictions), Spencer took five seconds off his pb to run 3:31.81 and is now the #4 Aussie all-time behind Ollie Hoare, McSweyn, and Ryan Gregson. Spencer still has two years of eligibility remaining in Madison should he choose to use them.

Men’s 200: Noah Lyles wins a thriller as 20-year-old Letsile Tebogo runs 19.50

The men’s 200 was billed as a showdown between US/world champ Noah Lyles and red-hot British champ Zharnel Hughes, and the two men were close throughout the first 100 meters with Hughes leading off the bend. But as Lyles began to separate from Hughes late, he was challenged from lane 8 by 20-year-old Letsile Tebogo of Botswana who, in a rare sight, was actually gaining on Lyles in the final meters. Lyles held on to win in 19.47 to Tebogo’s 19.50 as Hughes ran 19.73 to smash John Regis’ 30-year-old British record of 19.94.

Tebogo’s time was a pb by .37 and broke Frankie Fredericks’ 19.68 African record from the 1996 Olympics, but it was not good enough to win as Lyles is nearly unbeatable in his specialist event. Since he turned pro at the start of 2017, Lyles is 32-3 in 200m races – and one of those was his very first professional race, an indoor 200 in January 2017. He remains the gold standard in this event but has some super talents trying to take him down in Tebogo and Erriyon Knighton.

Lyles’ time was a 2023 world leader and his 35th career sub-20 — breaking the record previously held by Usain Bolt.

Women’s 800m: A Brit wins, but it’s not Hodgkinson

The story before the race was that Keely Hodgkinson, 2023 world leader over 800m and silver medalist at last year’s World Championships, was out due to illness. This news opened the door for the rest of the women, as Hodgkinson was the heavy favorite. Jemma Reekie of Great Britain took advantage and delivered in front of the home crowd. Reekie was the first woman behind the pacer at 400, going through in 56.8, and was neck and neck with Natoya Goule-Toppin and Halimah Nakaayi through 600m. A fast closing 100m of 15.0 allowed Reekie to pull away from the competition to win in a time of 1:57.30 to set a meet record. Although none of the big three were in this race (Hodgkinson, Mary Moraa, Athing Mu), Reekie could have a shot at the medal if one of them falters in Budapest. Nakaayi, the 2019 world champion, set her second Ugandan record in eight days, finishing 3rd in 1:57.62. Catriona Bisset of Australia improved her own Oceania record to 1:57.78. Americans Raevyn Rogers and Sage Hurta-Klecker finished 7th and 8th respectively. Rogers, however, set a SB in 1:58.98.

Quick Take: Jemma Reekie says she is in a great place now and is dreaming of a medal next month

Reekie was a revelation when she burst onto the scene in 2020, running a British indoor record of 1:57.91 at age 21 and finishing 4th in the following year’s Olympic final. But a case of mono derailed her 2022 season — she did not make the final at Worlds — and earlier this year made the decision to leave longtime coach Andy Young in the middle of training camp in South Africa.

Since then, Reekie has been training under Brighton-based coach Jon Bigg and she is starting to look like her old self again. Last week, she ran a big 1500 pb of 3:58 in Chorzow, and today she ran her fastest 800 since the 2021 Olympic final. The big three will be tough to crack at Worlds, but Reekie is trending in the right direction.

“I think I’m in the best place I could be, happiness and training wise so I think there’s nothing to lose in Budapest now, I’ll be going there to chase a medal,” Reekie told meet organizers. “I’m back to where I should be so I’m definitely going there to try and medal. I know I can go in and shake things up a bit, I’ve got a little bit less pressure as I didn’t medal last year so I’ll just go out there and try to get one. My training has changed completely to more 800m specific, of course I miss training with Laura (Muir) but I’m loving the set-up and it’s really positive.”

W400H: Bol runs the 3rd-fastest time ever

After winning her first four 400m hurdle races of 2023 comfortably, Femke Bol reached a new level in London on Sunday, running 51.45 to take more than half a second off her 52.03 personal best from the 2021 Olympic final and establish new European and Diamond League records. In fact, Bol’s time today was .01 faster than the then-world record Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone ran to win gold in that Olympic final in Tokyo. The only faster performances in history are SML’s 51.41 at USAs last year and SML’s 50.68 in last year’s World Championship final.

Bol and McLaughlin-Levrone will not meet in an individual event at Worlds as SML is focusing on the 400 and Bol is running the 400H, but it will be interesting to see what happens if/when SML returns to the hurdles. 51.45 is still a long way from 50.68, but Bol is six months younger than SML.

Women’s steeple: Jackline wins battle of Chepkoechs, becomes first woman under 9:00 in 2023

Kevin Morris photo

This race went out on world record pace through 1k (2:54) and WR holder Beatrice Chepkoech and fellow Kenyan Jackline Chepkoech, the 2021 world U20 champ, were the only ones to go with it. They would slow way down with a 3:06 second kilometer but still maintained a big lead on the pack before Jackline dropped Beatrice and won in 8:57.35, a five-second pb and good for #7 all-time. She had a big gap to Beatrice (2nd in 9:04.34), who in turn had a huge gap to Great Britain’s Aimee Pratt in 3rd (9:16.10). American Courtney Wayment was 4th in 9:17.21 while US champ Krissy Gear was 6th in 9:25.49 in her DL debut.

Between 19-year-old Jackline Chepkoech and 18-year-old Sembo Almayew of Ethiopia (9:00.71 sb), the two fastest women of 2023 are teenagers. The question is whether they can get it done on the big stage as neither has ever been in a senior global final.

Men’s 800 (non-DL): Burgin leads six Brits under 1:45!

Eleven years ago, London Stadium hosted what many believe to be the greatest 800 of them all. Sunday’s men’s 800 was obviously not of the same stature – it wasn’t even shown in the international TV window as it was not a Diamond League event – but, like that famous Olympic final, it produced a slew of personal bests.

21-year-old Max Burgin ran the second-fastest time of his life, 1:43.85 to get the win, while fellow 21-year-old Ben Pattison, who edged Burgin for 2nd at the British champs, was 2nd in a pb of 1:44.02.

Men’s 110 hurdles: Holloway picks up 3rd straight DL win

After being beaten in Rabat on May 28, Grant Holloway has looked unbeatable on the circuit and won again today in 13.01 after previous DL victories in Florence and Paris. While he did not run in the U.S. final thanks to his bye as being the reigning world champion, he has won every other race since Rabat. Winning three straight Diamond League 110mH races is something Holloway has never done up until this point in his career. Holloway and other hurdlers alike have explained that hurdlers rarely duck matchups because they need the repetition and rhythm practice. Being able to win three straight DL in competitive fields may be an indicator that Holloway is in his best form yet.

U.S. champion Daniel Roberts withdrew from this race and did not start. Second place finisher was Shunsuke Izumiya of Japan, with a quick 13.06 and Jamal Britt of the U.S. rounded out the podium in 13.25.

Women’s 100: Ta Lou impresses as Sha’Carri DNSs

US champ Sha’Carri Richardson was supposed to run this race but withdrew beforehand due to what announcers described as a minor hamstring problem. That still left some big names in this race, however, and the Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou continued her fine season by winning in 10.75 (+1.2) ahead of Dina Asher-Smith (10.85) and Shericka Jackson (10.94).

Normally that would be a bad day for Jackson, but the Jamaican has been very busy of late as this was her fourth race in four countries in eight days. She ran 10.78 in Poland last Sunday, then 22.02 in Hungary on Tuesday, 21.86 in Monaco on Friday and now 10.94 in London less than 48 hours later.

Men’s 400: van Niekerk stays undefeated in 2023, edges out Americans at the line

Wayde van Niekerk has returned to winning ways this season after taking a long time to recover from the knee injury he suffered at the end of 2017. He started off very strong in this race and was in front after 200m. 2023 U.S. champion Bryce Deadmon and the 3rd place finisher at USAs this year, Vernon Norwood, looked like they were going to walk him down in the final straight, but van Niekerk stayed strong, held form and out-dipped them both at the line for the win.

This year, WVN has competed in seven 400m races and has won all seven. While he has not dipped under 44 seconds yet, he has looked much better than previous years. He’s currently the 4th fastest man in 2023, behind Steven Gardiner, Muzala Samukonga, and Rusheen McDonald. However, he is definitely a favorite to win a medal this year, and maybe return to the top of the podium as a gold medalist for the first time since 2017.

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