Sage Watson was the lone Canadian competing at Wednesday’s Gyulai István Memorial track meet in Hungary, and she came away with a third-place finish in the 400m hurdles. American world champions Noah Lyles and Donavan Brazier also raced, with Lyles winning the 100m and 200m and Brazier taking first in the 600m. The meet provided some mid-week excitement for track fans, bridging the gap between Friday’s Diamond League event in Monaco and the upcoming Stockholm DL on Sunday.
— Continental Tour Gold (@ContiTourGold) August 19, 2020
The Gyulai István Memorial was just the second race of Watson’s 2020 season, and her first since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her third-place time of 56.29 was just 1.6 seconds behind 20-year-old Dutch runner Femke Bol, who won in 54.67. Having not raced since February, this was essentially a season opener for Watson, and grabbing third in a rust-buster event is nothing to complain about. Next up for Watson is the Stockholm Diamond League, where she will race the 400mH again.
Less than a week after running a season’s best 200m and taking the win at the Monaco Diamond League, Lyles continued his stellar season on Wednesday, winning both the 100m and 200m races. First up was the 100m, which he won in 10.05. Just a couple of hours later he was back on the track for the 200m, which he won in 20.13 seconds.
— Jonathan Gault (@jgault13) August 19, 2020
Going into Wednesday’s meet, Lyles’s compatriot Brazier had his eyes on the 600m world record of 1:12.81. The record was set way back in 1986 by American Johnny Gray, 11 years before Brazier was born. It wasn’t Brazier’s day (even though he won), and all he could muster was a 1:15.07, far off Gray’s record. Like Watson, Brazier will have a short few days of rest before toeing the line in Stockholm in the 800m.
Modern problems, modern solutions
Outside of the racing, there was a funny feature included at the meet. Instead of flower girls or any people delivering post-race gifts to athletes (as would be the case in years past), organizers made a COVID-friendly decision regarding that custom. Bouquets of flowers were attached to remote-controlled cars which were then driven to the winners of each race, showing that even the most classic of traditions can be changed to accommodate social distancing guidelines.