Antonio Watson and Danielle Williams delivered two of the most remarkable performances on the sixth day of Thursday (24 Aug), leading the way for five Jamaican medals at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23.
The displays from both of them were extraordinary, as neither of them came into the championships as expected medal contenders, yet they managed to achieve the unexpected.
Antonio Watson, the second youngest competitor in the men’s 400m field, shocked the world by securing gold in 44.22. While he initially occupied approximately third place entering the homestretch, he powered through to outpace Matthew Hudson-Smith (GBR) at the finish line with a time of 44.31.
“In the last 50 metres, I did not look at the other athletes. I was focusing on myself. I am excited I managed to go home with a victory,” Watson shared.
Watson, who picked up the event this season, became the second Jamaican to win the men’s 400m, joining Bertland Cameron, who claimed the inaugural title back in 1983.
“I am truly proud that I am bringing gold to Jamaica. This season has been amazing for me. After winning the world youth title in 2017, it’s incredible to clinch the gold medal at my first world senior championships,” Watson continued.
“I believed in myself. My coach guided me on what I needed to do, and I executed it. As you know, Usain Bolt holds the world record at 100m. He inspires 90 percent of Jamaicans who started track and field. He motivates me too. The focus now shifts to the 4x400m relay.”
Who win the Budapest 23 women’s 100m hurdles?
Danielle Williams astonished the world by seizing victory in the women’s 100m hurdles final. Racing from lane two, she maintained the lead throughout, securing her second title with a time of 12.43, ahead of Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (PUR) with 12.44 and Kendra Harrison (USA) with 12.46.
“I still can’t believe I won against such a stellar field,” Williams expressed.
“I’ve been racing against these ladies all year, and they’ve been outpacing me at every turn. Yet, I possessed unwavering confidence in my training and abilities, never losing belief,” she added.
In Beijing 2015, Williams similarly shocked the field to claim the title. “Winning in 2015 was beyond belief. But this required immense hard work, years of dedication through injuries, moments of self-doubt, and the struggle to regain my confidence and make my way back to this stage. It’s incredible; Jamaica is a nation of pride, and winning is our passion. I thrive on victory.”
Jamaica picked up two medals in Budapest 23 men’s long jump
While Wayne Pinnock narrowly missed the gold medal, and Tajay Gayle edged out Carey McLeod in his final attempt for a podium finish, the most uplifting news was that Jamaica would see two long jumpers on the podium. Pinnock secured silver with 8.50m, Gayle earned bronze with 8.27m, and McLeod placed fourth with 8.27m. Miltiadis Tentoglou (GRE) clinched the gold with an impressive 8.82m.
Pinnock shared, “It’s truly a dream come true. Observing athletes like Tentoglou inspired me as a youngster to reach the pinnacle. And now, I’m nearly there.”
Gayle expressed, “This ranks among the best days of my life, yet I’m certain I can achieve even more,” and he revealed, “Two weeks ago, I sustained a knee injury.”
Budapest 23 Women’s 400m hurdles final
Rushell Clayton secured Jamaica’s fifth medal on the day, securing the bronze in the women’s 400m hurdles with a time of 52.81. Femke Bol (NED) seized the gold with a time of 51.70, while the silver went to Shamier Little (USA) with a time of 52.80.
“It was the best run of my life,” said Clayton.
“When I won the bronze medal at Doha (2019 World Championships) that was an easier run, I can tell you. Now all the ladies were on fire. I was able to better my PB two times in Budapest so I cannot be happier.
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