American 400m hurdles champion Sydney McLaughlin produced a captivating performance, lowering her world record of 51.90 seconds to 51.46 seconds, on her way to becoming the Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion.
In what could be described as an enthralling battle, Sydney McLaughlin came up against steep competition from teammate and reigning World and Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad. The dethroned Olympic champion running from lane seven got off to a flying start. However, a calm, cool and collective McLaughlin in lane four held her composure. Both athletes were nip and tuck, heading to the tenth and final hurdle.
In the end, it was the 21-year-old sensation that came out victorious. Muhammad, who was second, also went below the previous world record as she crossed the line in 51.58 seconds.
“What a great race,” McLaughlin said. “I’m just grateful to be out here celebrating that extraordinary race and representing my country.”
When the world record time was flashed on the scoreboard, McLaughlin showed no visible emotion.
“I can’t really get it straight in my head yet,” she said. “I’m sure I’ll process it and celebrate later.”
Despite losing out on the gold, Muhammad said she was thrilled to have been part of such an extraordinary race. “Just like the men’s race, all three of our times would have won any Olympics, any other year,” she said.
“I’m so proud to be part of that history and even more proud of my teammate Sydney. I’m just happy it’s a one-two final for USA, and today I’m happy with second.”
Dutch athlete Femke Bol was third in a new European record of 52.03 seconds. This meant all three podium finishers ran faster than Jamaica Melanie Walker’s previous Olympic record of 52.64 seconds.
Jamaican national champion Janieve Russell finished in fourth position in a lifetime best of 53.08 seconds.
At the end of the race, Russell expressed satisfaction with achieving a personal best at the games. “Brigitte Foster-Hylton my hurdles coach was saying, there are a lot of people in the race with PB’s faster than your; don’t pay that any mind.
“It’s what you come to the plate on the day, and I just proved that. I’m fourth in the world this year, and I am just really really, really really really happy.”
Russell will be looking to end her season in September this year and will be hoping to get below the 53 seconds barrier. “I close my season in September, still running diamond leagues. We are going to try and push and have the same momentum to get that 52 (seconds).”
Meanwhile, Jamaicans Ronald Levy and Hansle Parchment will be hoping to end Jamaica’s men medal drought at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when they both line up in the final of the 110 metres hurdles.
Levy won semi-final number one in 13.23 seconds, while Parchment was once again second in 13.23 seconds to Grant Holloway, who won in 13.13 seconds.
Levy is expected to start in lane number five in the final, while Parchment is expected to start in lane number seven.
Damion Thomas failed to advance after clocking 13.39 seconds for this in the second semi-final.
There was disappointment for the London 2012 Olympic champion in the javelin in the field, as Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago failed to advance to the event’s final.
Walcott, who also secured bronze in Rio 2016, had a best effort of 79.33 metres in his third and final attempt.
Grenadian Doha 2019 World champion Anderson Peters, also failed to advance as his best effort of 80.42 metres came in his first throw.