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Kenny Bednarek wins Doha 200m in personal best as Olympic Trials showdown nears

Tokyo Olympic silver medalist Kenny Bednarek consolidated his status as a favorite to make the Paris Olympic team by winning the 200m in a personal-best time at a Diamond League meet in Doha on Friday.

Bednarek prevailed in 19.67 seconds, shaving one hundredth off his personal best from the Tokyo Olympic final. He said Friday’s performance was a birthday gift to his mom.

“I wanted the world lead (world’s fastest time in 2024), and I got it,” said Bednarek, who correctly predicted his performance before the race. “I’m back and better than ever. Last two years, I was hurt. I’m here to go for the trials and for the Olympics.”

Bednarek, 25, beat a Doha field that included countryman Courtney Lindsey, who went into the race as the world’s fastest man in 2024 in the 200m with a time of 19.71 from April 20.


The U.S. also boasts the 2023 World Championships gold and silver medalists in the 200m — Noah Lyles and Erriyon Knighton. Lyles, Bednarek and Knighton made it an American sweep of the 200m medals at the 2022 Worlds.

Lyles and Knighton have yet to make their outdoor season debuts in the 200m.

Lyles owns the American record of 19.31 and is undefeated at the distance since taking bronze in Tokyo. Knighton, who was fourth in Tokyo at age 17, is the fifth-fastest man in history with a personal best of 19.49.

The top three in the Olympic Trials 200m final on June 29 in Eugene, Oregon, will make the team for Paris.

Bednarek ran Friday with a white headband adorned by the words “Fear None.” He is nicknamed “Kung Fu Kenny.”

“We all have the same gear and everyone kind of looks the same on the track, so I wanted to think of a way to stand out [with a headband],” he said in 2022. “I liked the ring to ‘Kung Fu Kenny’ and the values that it has with it -- discipline, dedication, respect and humbleness. I want to instill those values in my daily life and professional life. I don’t want to just be another sprinter. I want to have a brand and persona so people know exactly who I am every time I step out there.”

Also in Doha, Brazil’s Alison dos Santos won the 400m hurdles in 46.86 seconds, the 15th-fastest time in history.

Dos Santos, the 2022 World champion, and Olympic gold and silver medalists Karsten Warholm of Norway and American Rai Benjamin combine to own the 11 fastest times in history. Warholm and Benjamin were not in the Doha field.

Czech Jakub Vadlejch won the men’s javelin with an 88.38-meter throw in arguably the strongest field of the meet. Vadlejch, who owns four Olympic and world medals (all silver and bronze), edged reigning Olympic and world champion Neeraj Chopra of India by two centimeters.

Vadlejch had the world’s best throw of 2023 (89.51) and ranks second in the world this year by best throw behind 19-year-old German Max Dehning (90.20).

The track and field season continues next weekend with the Los Angeles Grand Prix on May 18 at 3 p.m. ET (live on NBC,, the NBC Sports app and Peacock) and a Diamond League meet in Morocco on May 19 at 2 p.m. ET (live on Peacock).

Kenny Bednarek, the Olympic and world silver medalist opens up about his path to becoming a professional athlete, being overlooked, his adoption and more.