Lyles backs Hughes to break British 200m record

Zharnel Hughes celebrates after winning the men's 200m at the British Championships
Zharnel Hughes completed a 100m and 200m double at the British Championships in July
Venue: London Stadium Date: Sunday, 23 July
Coverage: BBC TV, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website & app 13:15-16:35 BST

Noah Lyles insists Zharnel Hughes can break the British 200m record in front of a sell-out crowd of 50,000 at the London Diamond League on Sunday.

Hughes, who broke his nation’s 30-year 100m record in June, said he was not targeting the 200m mark of 19.94 seconds set by John Regis in 1993.

But reigning world 200m champion Lyles claimed that was “definitely” attainable for the 28-year-old.

Learning the time Hughes would require, Lyles said: “Oh, we can get that.”

“Why are you being so modest, man?” the American joked during Saturday’s press conference at London Stadium.

Referencing Hughes’ British 100m victory in appalling conditions earlier this month, Lyles added: “You just ran in a hurricane. We can get that [time] most definitely.”

Hughes, who predicted his 9.83-second run which smashed Linford Christie’s 100m record in New York, previously told BBC Sport that he has another target written on his vision board at home – which he hopes to achieve at the World Championships in Budapest next month.

Sunday’s competition at London Stadium, the first major athletics meet to be held at the 2012 Olympic venue since 2019, represents one of the final opportunities for some of the sport’s biggest names to fine-tune their preparations for Budapest.

“Tomorrow is about executing my race, not to break the British record. If it comes, it comes,” said Hughes, who set his 200m personal best of 20.02 secs at the 2015 World Championships.

“It’s something that’s on the board and if it comes tomorrow I’ll be happy.”

Lyles, planning to chase a trio of world golds in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, believes Hughes’ 100m time – the fastest in the world this year – has made him a serious medal contender.

“It’s another person [I need] to beat,” the Olympic bronze medallist said.

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Shericka Jackson wins the 200m in Monaco on Friday, with Dina Asher-Smith third
Dina Asher-Smith (right) competed against Shericka Jackson over 200m in Monaco on Friday

An exciting women’s 100m race will see Dina Asher-Smith, the 2019 200m world champion, and fellow Briton Daryll Neita test themselves against a world-class field.

Jamaican Shericka Jackson, American Sha’Carri Richardson and Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, the three fastest women in the world this year, join them in London.

World 200m champion Jackson came out on top over the longer sprint distance in Monaco on Friday night, clocking 21.86 secs as Asher-Smith ran a season-best 22.23 secs for third. Richardson, meanwhile, has suffered just one defeat all season.

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Having broken the British record in Paris last month Keely Hodgkinson will aim to deliver a memorable finale to the day’s action as she continues to build towards her bid for world 800m gold.

The 21-year-old, who has lost just once this year, will be joined by Jemma Reekie and Katie Snowden in the two-lap race, while Neil Gourley, Elliot Giles, George Mills and Matthew Stonier contest a quality men’s 1500m line-up.

Elsewhere, European indoor champion Jazmin Sawyers and former heptathlon world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson will compete in a women’s long jump featuring multiple major medallists.

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There is no shortage of big names across the schedule, with London Marathon winner Sifan Hassan (women’s 5,000m), 400m world record-holder Wayde van Niekerk, world 110m hurdles champion Grant Holloway, and Olympic pole vault champion Katie Moon among those also in action.

British stars such as Hannah Cockroft, Sammi Kinghorn, David Weir and Sophie Hahn will take part in five Para-athletics events to be held before the main Diamond League programme begins.

Follow live coverage of Sunday’s London Diamond League on BBC One, iPlayer and online from 13:15 BST.

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