Athletics

Childhood setbacks toughen up 200m world champion Noah Lyles

US sprinter Noah Lyles was forced to battle all the way before clinching his first major championship gold medal.

But after a lifetime of overcoming adversity, the 22-year-old had plenty of experience to draw on as he sealed victory in the 200 metres final at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Lyles won gold in 19.83sec, ahead of Canada's Andre de Grasse (19.95) and Ecuador's Alex Quinonez (19.98).

Lyles said his gold-medal winning display had been forged in his difficult childhood and formative years.

"I've had a lot of different challenges in life and generally that's shaped me into who I am now," the charismatic sprinter said.

"From asthma at a very early age, having my tonsils removed at age six, going through surgery at such a young age.

"Learning disabilities, I also had dyslexia and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)."

Lyles, who is a keen rap artist and is hoping to bring out a debut album before next year's Tokyo Olympics, said having dyslexia set him apart from the majority of his age group.

"At school, I was in the slow classes learning to read," he said. "Traditional school was not my forte, my strong suit.

"I've kind of gotten isolated in moments, middle school through high school."

After his victory, Lyles made a point of hugging his mother Keisha, who helped him through the difficult days at school and bolstered his belief when he was at a very low ebb.

"Little by little, my mum raised me very well and I tried to work on my character as much as I could," he said.

"I remember crying in high school because I thought I was going to have to go to college and would not be able to run.

"And my mum said 'Well you can just go pro'. So I was the first one to do that, along with my brother." - AFP


SCORE FOR DYSLEXIA

As part of the World Dyslexia Awareness Week, the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS) is organising a charity football match at the Jalan Besar Stadium at 6.30pm on Sunday. Local icons such as Fandi Ahmad, Aleksandar Duric and Steven Tan are set to make appearances.

Proceeds from the tickets, at $20 each, will go to the DAS Bursary Fund. Tickets are available via scorefordyslexia.eventzilla.net

DAS is also organising a free football clinic conducted by coaches from the ActiveSG Football Academy before the match.

OTHER SPORTS