Noah Lyles, winner of the men's 200m at the London Diamond League meeting in a 2023 world-leading time of 19.47sec, congratulates Zharnel Hughes on his British record of 19.73 ©Getty Images

Noah Lyles, who will seek a third consecutive world 200 metres title this summer, warmed up in ideal fashion by setting the world’s fastest time of the year, 19.47sec, in winning at the London Diamond League meeting.

In front of a sell-out 50,000 crowd in the stadium that hosted the London 2012 Olympic athletics, Femke Bol of the Netherlands in the women's 400 metres hurdles and 19-year-old Kenyan Jackline Chepkoech in the women’s 3,000m steeplechase also produced the fastest times seen in 2023.

Bol, who finished a distant second to home runner Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone at last year's World Athletics Championships in Oregon, took another big step towards closing the gap as she broke 52 seconds for the first time, setting a European and Diamond League record of 51.45, and bettering the mark of 52.03 she set in winning Tokyo 2020 bronze.

"I've been wanting to run a 51 ever since Tokyo," said the 23-year old, who still has a way to go to reach McLaughlin-Levrone's world record of 50.68. 

"I had a feeling I could do it but I still can't believe I've done it. 

"I hope we can put up a great race at the World Championships."

Chepkoech earned a runaway victory in 8min 57.35sec, putting her seventh on the all-time list.

The young Kenyan, who had a breakthrough Commonwealth Games victory in Birmingham last year, took more than five seconds off her personal best in beating a field that included her compatriot and namesake, world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech, second in 9:04.34.

At yesterday’s media conference Hughes, who beat Linford Christie’s 1993 British 100m record of 9.87 earlier this season with a time of 9.83, spoke cautiously about his prospects of breaking the national 200m record of 19.94 set by John Regis in winning world silver in 1993, saying: "If it comes, it comes."

Sitting alongside him, Lyles first asked what the mark was before commenting, with a reference to Hughes’s rainswept 100m victory at the recent National Championships: “Oh we can get that!

"Why are you being so modest man?

"You just ran in the rain, man, in the hurricane.

"We can get that."

Lyles, who will have derived huge confidence from his performance in the last Diamond League meeting before the World Athletics Championships start in Budapest on August 19, was entirely correct.

The 28-year-old Anguilla-born Briton achieved his new mark in finishing behind the double world under-20 100m champion, Letsile Tebogo of Botswana, who clocked an African record of 19.50 and now looks a very serious medal contender for Budapest - and many more World Championships in future years.

Hughes’s mark also bettered the time of 19.87 Regis set in the thin air of Sestriere in 1994 with a legal following wind of 1.8 metres per second that was not ratified as a British record.

The women's 5,000 metres, won by Gudaf Tsegay, also provided a meeting record in London ©Getty Images
The women's 5,000 metres, won by Gudaf Tsegay, also provided a meeting record in London ©Getty Images

"I'm just so happy I did it right here," he said, adding that, just as he had before setting the national 100m mark, he had correctly guessed the time he would run today.

"I did it again," he said. 

"I predicted it - I wrote it down that exact time this morning, at about 9.30am.

"I wanted to get the British record here on home soil and I did it."

The men’s 200m and women’s 3,000m steeplechase times produced meeting records, as did a monumental women’s 5,000m race won by world champion Gudaf Tsegay of Ethiopia in 14:12.29.

A hugely competitive race saw the first three runners home setting personal bests as Kenya’s Commonwealth champion Beatrice Chebet finished second in 14:12.92 and Olympic champion Sifan Hassan of The Netherlands - whose last competitive outing in the British capital involved winning the London Marathon on her debut at the distance - was third in 14:13.42.

Ethiopia’s Medina Eisa set a world under-20 record of 14:16.54 in fourth place, in front of Alicia Monson of the United States, whose 14:19.45 was a North American record.

Another meeting record was provided by Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast in the penultimate event of the day, as she won the women’s 100m in 10.74.

Ta Lou was followed home by Britain’s 2019 200m world champion Dina Asher-Smith in a season’s best of 10.85, with the current world 200m champion, Shericka Jackson of Jamaica, third in 10.94 and another Briton, Daryll Neita, fourth in 10.96.

World and Olympic men’s shot put champion Ryan Crouser of the United States added another meeting record with his best of 23.07m.

The concluding women’s 800m appeared to have been set up as a finale for Britain's Olympic and world silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson, but she withdrew shortly before the race because of a bad throat.

In her absence, the hoped-for final home flourish was provided by Scotland's Jemma Reekie, who won in a meeting record of 1:57.30 from Jamaica’s Natoya Goule-Toppin on 1:57.61, with 2019 world champion Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda third in a national record of 1:57.62.

Wayde van Niekerk, who set the world 400m record of 43.03 from lane eight to win the 2016 Olympic title before wrecking his knee in a celebrity rugby match in October 2017, is finally returning to medal-winning form after a long struggle to return from the injury that put his career in jeopardy.

The 31-year-old South African won at last weekend's Silesia Diamond League meeting in 44.08, his fastest time since taking the 2017 world title in London, and on that same track today he won in 44.36.

Yared Nuguse of the United States earned his first Diamond League victory as he came home in 3:30.44, to take the men’s 1500m ahead of Narve Nordas of Norway, second in 3:30.58, and home runner Neil Gourley, third in a personal best of 3:30.60.

Joint Olympic champion Mutaz Barshim, who will seek a fourth consecutive men’s world high jump title in Budapest, had to give best on the day to JuVaughn Harrison of the United States, who won with 2.35m as the Qatari finished second on 2.33m.

Harrison’s compatriot Quanesha Burks won the women’s long jump with a personal best of 6.98m.

Another expected United States victory came in the 110m hurdles, where double world champion Grant Holloway clocked 13.01.

Finland’s European women’s pole vault champion Wilma Murto earned her first Diamond League win on countback from Olympic champion Katie Moon of the United States after both had cleared 4.80m.

A throw of 67.03m secured victory in the men’s discus for Sweden’s Olympic champion Daniel Stahl as world champion Kristjan Ceh of Slovenia finished third with 66.02m.