Three of the Caribbean’s top sprint hurdlers advanced to the final of the women’s 100m hurdles on another day of riveting action at the 19th Edition of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Bahamian Devynne Charlton was the fastest Caribbean qualifier after registering 12.49, just 0.05 outside of her lifetime best, which was set in the heats. Jamaican duo Ackera Nugent, the 2021 World U20 champion, who finished second in her semi-final in 12.60 (0.7 m/s) and 2015 World Champion Danielle Williams (12.50) joined Charlton.
Unfortunately, for the second consecutive World Championships, Jamaica’s Megan Tapper failed to advance from the semi-finals. Tapper finished fourth in her semi-final in 12.55 seconds and now has the unique distinction of registering the two fastest non-qualifying times in world championship history.
In the men’s 400m hurdles final, Norwegian great Karsten Warholm was untouchable. Warholm, who finished seventh last year, was in a no-nonsense mood. Often, Warholm’s torrid pace interrupts the race plans of his competitors, who struggle to keep up.
Warholm, nicknamed ‘The Viking,’ was like a runaway train and duly claimed his third world title in 46.89 seconds. “This one feels extra special because I lost it last year, and I feel like it’s back where it belongs,” said Warholm gleefully.
“I felt like the race went just as I thought it would be. The guys were going out super hard, and they thought I would go hard, but they went harder, and then I knew it would get tough in the end for them. And so it proved that I had the most energy in the home stretch, and I knew that’s where the fight would be.”
With the silver medal up for grabs and anxiety mounting, Kyron McMaster, representing the British Virgin Islands, decided the opportunity was too inviting not to accept and immediately darted down the straight, bursting the tape at 47.34 seconds.
“I’ve been chasing a medal since 2017, and I got one tonight,” said McMaster. “I knew coming off the 8th hurdle, that’s when the race started, that’s where the fight began, so my objective was to power home as strong as possible because it would have come down to who wanted it more coming off the last two hurdles.”
American Rai Benjamin, who won consecutive silvers at the last two editions, had to settle for his first-ever individual bronze medal at a World Championships. “I can run 46 with my eyes closed,” Benjamin said ruefully.
“I just don’t know what happened today, I don’t know how to explain it, at all.”
Roshawn Clarke, the World U20 record holder, finished fourth in 48.07 seconds. “It was a rough journey, but I peaked at the right time. Finishing fourth, very close to a medal, I give GOD thanks. Today, at the 6th hurdle, my feet couldn’t keep up with the pace anymore because I ran so fast in the semis. I came out trying to match that run.”
In the women’s 400m final, Jamaica’s Candice McLeod started briskly and covered the first 200m mark in 22.63 seconds ahead of the flying Dutchwoman Lieke Klaver (23.06). McLeod could not sustain her momentum and began to falter, eventually finishing 7th in 51.08 seconds. Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic won the event in a national record of 48.76 seconds. It was a tremendous achievement for Paulino, who had previously won silver medals at the Tokyo Olympics and last year’s Oregon Championships.
Sada Williams of Barbados ensured two Caribbean athletes would share the podium, a repeat of last year in Eugene, when she claimed bronze in 49.60 seconds.
“I’m feeling mixed emotions right now, I am feeling disappointment and happiness,” said Williams. “I was hoping to upgrade from last year, but I’m happy I made it on the podium.”
Earlier in the day, the rescheduled men’s and women’s 200m heats did not spring any surprises as the main characters advanced to the semi-finals. World Champion Shericka Jackson, still smarting from her 100m loss, looked imperious while winning her heat. A serious-looking Jackson did not stop for interviews in the mixed zone. Also advancing were Sha’Carri Richardson, Marie Josee Ta Lou, Julian Alfred, Natalliah Whyte, Kevona Davis and teenager Adaejah Hodge of the British Virgin Islands. Jamaica’s Andrew Hudson and Rasheed Dwyer also advanced in the men’s equivalent.
Elsewhere, there were plenty of fireworks in the women’s triple jump as twelve (12) athletes went beyond 14m. Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts led the way with a season’s best of 14.67m. She was followed closely by Thea Lafond of the Dominican Republic, who bounded out to a lifetime best and national record of 14.62m. Kimberly Williams, a veteran Jamaican triple jumper competing at her fifth World Championship, also advanced after registering a season’s best 14.30m. Her compatriot Ackelia Smith, who also competed in the long jump final, failed to move forward after registering 13.95m.
Jamaica’s Nayoka Clunis struggled with her rhythm in the women’s Hammer Throw qualification. She produced her worst showing for the entire season. Clunis finished 35th overall with a mark of 58.10m. In July, Clunis had set a personal best of 71.18m.
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