Clayton delights in 400mH bronze ‘burn’
Rushell Clayton is cherishing winning her second 400 metres hurdles medal at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Friday, knowing the road she took and the relentless desire to return to the podium this year.
Clayton copped bronze in the women's 400 metres hurdles final yesterday with a lifetime-best performance of 52.81 seconds. World leader the Netherlands' Femke Bol captured the title in 51.70 while the United States of America's (USA) Shamier Little was second in a season's best of 52.80. Jamaica's Janieve Russell was seventh in 54.28, and Andrenette Knight eighth in her first World Championship final in 55.20.
Clayton won her first World Championships medal four years ago and confessed that at that time, as a newcomer, she contemplated if the moment was real or not.
Compared to that first bronze medal in Doha, Budapest, was the culmination of a season with challenges, and Clayton says the bronze this year is more rewarding than 2019.
"It feels better. In 2019, I was a newbie. I was like 'iffing' and butting whether or not this was real. Since I have been working endlessly, and this one means a lot. It means everything," Clayton said.
Clayton took inspiration from the women's 100 metres hurdles final - when compatriot Danielle Williams won her second title - to focus on her technical execution, knowing it would take an all-time performance to medal.
"The race was fire. I knew it would be fast, so I knew that I had to stay true to my execution because it is the execution that gives you an edge. I saw that with Danielle when I came out, and it clicked.
"She was in lane one. If she hadn't stuck to her execution, she would have lost, so that prompted me to say, 'Girl, you got to stay in the zone and execute'. From the first round, I said, for a medal, it would take sub-53 because we are all in a 53-low zone. It would have taken something other than 53 to get the medal," Clayton said.
Clayton ended an excellent day for Jamaica, with five medals mined, and she was delighted that her event closed the day, as it would be the curtain raiser for most meets.
"Normally, I open the show in meets, and now it's the last event, all the attention on me, but It felt good. It burned, but it felt," Clayton said.