For five brief minutes the world thought it had discovered the new Usain Bolt, before a bizarre realisation put paid to the dream of one young sprinter.

Noah Lyles, 22, was competing in the socially distanced Inspiration Games, an event that pits sprinters from around the world against each other as they race alone on their own local tracks, when his emotional rollercoaster began.

Running in the 200m, the event for which Usain Bolt holds a world-record time of 19.19 seconds, Lyles seemed to race to a huge early lead over his competitors before stunning television commentator Steve Cram by going over the finishing line in a time of 18.91 seconds.

"That cannot be right!" Cram exclaimed on the broadcast. "That cannot be right! 18.91? That cannot be right, can it?"

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US sprinter Noah Lyles. Photo / Photosport
US sprinter Noah Lyles. Photo / Photosport

For the next five minutes the athletics world thought it had witnessed the first person to run 200 metres under 19 seconds. That was until it was revealed that Lyles hadn't run 200 metres.

It turns out Lyles had been set up to start the race on the wrong line at his home track in Florida, meaning he had skipped a crucial 15 metres of the race.

"You can't be playing with my emotions like this," tweeted Lyles. "Got me in the wrong lane smh." Lyles later corrected the tweet to say "wrong line."

Christophe Lemaitre, the reigning Olympic bronze medalist from France, was eventually awarded first place with a time of 20.65 seconds.