TAMPERE, Finland – Briana Williams and Damion Thomas won gold medals for Jamaica on Thursday’s third day of the 16th IAAF World U20 Championships.
Williams, who was fast out of blocks and held her drive phase for about 40 metres, powered across the line in 11.16secs. The Ato Boldon-coached sprinter, the youngest in the field at 16, maintained her composure even though it seems American Twanish Terry was closing.
Terry, who ran a Championship record holder 11.03 in the semi-finals, tried unsuccessfully and had to settle for second in 11.19.
“It feels amazing,” Williams said after the race while adding “I’ve been training for this race all season long.”
It was Jamaica’s first gold in the event since Veronica Campbell-Brown won in 2000.
In the men’s 110m hurdles, Thomas dominated the last half of the race to take an easy victory in 13.16 seconds.
“I came here to win and I’m feeling so blessed,” said Thomas.
The gold was Jamaica’s first ever in the event and for Thomas, “It means a lot to me to share the podium with a teammate.”
Orlando Bennett, Thomas’ teammate, ran very well for second in 13.33, holding off the fast finish Japanese Shunsuke Izumiya, 13.38.
Williams and Thomas have some things in common. Both were born in Florida and attended North Eastern High School. They both set world record marks in 2018, Williams 11.13 for the 15-year-old world age group record and Thomas’ 12.99, the joint world junior record for 110m hurdles.
Earlier, Stacey-Ann Williams ran 53.23secs for 6th in the women’s 400m, won by Indian Hima Das, 51.46secs.
Christopher Taylor, the event favourite, won his 400m semi-final in 46.16secs and along with Chantz Sawyers, 46.19, advanced to the final.
Shiann Salmon qualified for the women’s 400m hurdles final with the fastest time of 56.29. Her teammate Sanique Walker withdrew from the semi-finals with a hamstring injury.
Xavier Nairne, Jamaica’s lone competitor in the men’s 200m, failed to advance to the final. He finished 8th place finish in semi-final 2 in 21.64secs.
At the end of Day 3, Jamaica with two gold, one silver and a bronze, were tied with Japan in second. Kenya (3G, 1B) lead the standing.
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