Athletics-Lyles says having brother as his teammate makes worlds even better

By Amy Tennery

EUGENE, Ore. (Reuters) – Reigning 200 metres champion Noah Lyles said having his younger brother as teammate makes the world championships even sweeter, as the international meet kicks off Friday in Eugene, Oregon.

The 24-year-old American was flying solo when he picked up bronze in Tokyo and said he is far happier having Josephus, who is in the U.S. 4×100 metres relay pool, by his side.

“It’s completely different from Tokyo, it’s an exact 180, I would say, one being on home soil, two having my brother, three having my whole family here. Everything that I didn’t have in Tokyo, I now have here at this world championships,” he told reporters Thursday, as the U.S. readies to host its first world championships.

“It’s always better to have your brother there… This experience is exactly what we’ve been waiting to see since we first turned pro.”

Lyles produced his season’s best – a speedy 19.61 – at the NYC Grand Prix last month after picking up a win at the May Diamond League meet in Doha and is basking in his budding rivalry with 18-year-old phenom Erriyon Knighton, whom he denied a spot on the podium in Tokyo.

Lyles ran down Knighton to win the national championships last month, prompting the teen to storm off during a televised post-race interview in frustration.

“It makes the sport better,” Lyles told reporters.

“I know that he’s coming back with a vengeance, and I’m not going to give anything less than I have.”

Lyles also reiterated his guarantee of U.S. dominance in the men’s 4×100 metres relay, slyly denying reporters any information on a recent relay team training camp.

“We had all fast people there,” said Lyles. “I’ve been saying this for years: When I’m on the relay, we ain’t losing. Point blank. We might break the world record.”

The World Athletics Championships run from July 15-24 in Eugene, Oregon.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in Eugene, Oregon; Editing by Christopher Cushing)