On April 23, American high schooler Issam Asinga took down US Olympian Noah Lyles in a 100m race in Florida. Not even a full week later, Asinga beat Lyles yet again, this time knocking off Lyles’s American high school 200m record. Asinga ran 19.97 seconds at a collegiate race in Texas on Saturday, smashing the previous high school record of 20.09 that Lyles ran in 2016. To add to his wild week of results, Asinga also ran his third straight sub-10-second 100m at the same meet on Saturday (although, unlike his 200m result, it was not a wind-legal run).
🚨HIGH SCHOOL NATIONAL RECORD🚨
Issam Asinga breaks Noah Lyles’ 20.09 record with a legal wind 19.97!!!! pic.twitter.com/vsCyTseijK
— Travis Miller (@travismillerx13) April 29, 2023
Asinga entered Saturday’s race (which took place at Texas Tech University) with a 200m PB of 20.11 seconds, just off Lyles’s record. He ended up finishing third, losing to Western Texas College’s James Dadzie and Texas Tech’s Courtney Lindsey. Dadzie hails from Ghana, and his 19.79-second result is not only a world-leading time for 2023, but it is also a new Ghanaian national 200m record. Lindsey’s 19.94 run is the third fastest of the year, followed by Asinga’s in fourth.
While Asinga is the first American high school competitor to break 20 seconds in the 200m, he is not the fastest teenager from the United States. sprinting phenom Erriyon Knighton ran a mind-boggling 19.49-second PB in 2022 at the age of 18 while he was still a high school student, but he had already turned pro. Since he was no longer competing as a high schooler, his U20 American record did not lower the high school best Lyles set in 2016.
Issam Asinga 🇺🇲 is on fire!!
The 18-year-old stormed to victory in the men’s 100m at the Pure Athletics Spring Invitational in 9.83s (2.6), beating Noah Lyles 🇺🇲 who came 2nd in 9.92s!
Kendal Williams 🇺🇲 was 3rd in 9.98s. pic.twitter.com/Bh5AZq8Gog
— oluwadare (@Track_Gazette) April 23, 2023
In an interview with Citius Mag after his race, Asinga said he wanted to prove to the track world that his win against Lyles a week prior wasn’t due to luck. “I just want to show consistency right now,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing for me, just show that it’s not a fluke.” He said his next meet will be in Maryland on the weekend, where he’ll be back to racing high schoolers after two weeks of competing with collegiate athletes and pros.
After that, he has his sights set on qualifying for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Asinga is in his final year of high school at Montverde Academy in Florida and has committed to run at Texas A&M in 2024.