History making hurdles trio ready for finals spotlight
The women's 400-metre hurdles final will see Jamaica have three lanes in the event for the first time at a World Athletics Championships. And for national champion Janieve Russell, 2019 World Championships bronze medallist Rushell Clayton and Andrenette Knight they are proud of how much they have grown as day four of the World Championships concluded yesterday.
Clayton achieved a lifetime best of 53.30 seconds , the third fastest time among the finalists to win her semi-final.
Having finished third in the national championships last month in a battle that went down to the wire, she is expecting the same thing come tomorrow in her third consecutive World Championships final.
"The main aim is to execute a good race. And I think each time I step onto the line it gets better and better. So I still have a little bit cleaning up to do. Get the stride pattern consistent. But I think it was a pretty good race," Clayton said. "We definitely have three great athletes. The other two ladies are super good, I finished third at trials. It's going to be a ding dong battle in the final."
Knight in her World Championships debut secured her place in the final after finishing second in her semi-final, clocking 53.72, behind world leader and World Championships silver medallist Femke Bol of the Netherlands, who won in 52.95.
Knight found herself in the same heat as former World and Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad of the United States, who missed out on the final. Knight said that while she knows she has to be better tomorrow, she is happy to have the opportunity to contend for a medal at the first time of asking.
"I'm super blessed to be here and to be in the final it's a major accomplishment this season," Knight said.
Russell's time of 53.69 was enough to get her through as a non-automatic qualifier. Having secured her first World Championships final since 2015 and having three Jamaicans in the event, Russell is grateful to be a part of history.
"I am now here again with three Jamaicans in a final. At the Commonwealth Games last year there were three Jamaicans in the final and I am really glad we are coming back. Not just in the sprints but in the hurdles too," Russell said.
Meanwhile Antonio Watson's lifetime best of 44.13 seconds booked him a spot in his first men's 400m final defeating America's Vernon Norwood, who was second in 44.26 (another lifetime best) and South Africa's world record holder Wayde van Niekerk, who was third in 44.65 in his semi final. National champion Sean Bailey will join Watson in the final after finishing second in 44.94 in a semi-final field that included Olympic champion Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas. Gardiner who pulled up just before the final straight and didn't finish the race. Zandrion Barnes, in his first World Championships, finished sixth in 45.38 to miss out.
The trio of national champion Megan Tapper, former World champion Danielle Williams and World Championships debutant Ackera Nugent, all qualified for tonight's 100-metre hurdles semi-finals.