Jamaicans run out of 400-metre hurdles medals

By IAAF July 14, 2018

Pushed to the line and tested to the limit in a fiercely competitive race, Sokwakhana Zazini lived up to the massive expectations heaped upon his slight shoulders to strike gold in the 400m hurdles and take South Africa's second-ever men's gold in the event, and to join Zenéy van der Walt for the country's sweep of the discipline at these championships. 

The 17-year-old, who took the U18 title in Nairobi last year, ran relaxed for the first half, leaving himself with much to do in the second. Caught in a fierce four-man tussle with just 60 metres remaining, Zazini shifted gears and made up some ground over the penultimate hurdle, but still trailed Qatari Bassem Hemeida as they approached the last. And Hemeida, running the race of his life, showed little sign of slowing. Zazini dug deep, and didn't catch him until they were three strides from the finish, crossing the line in 49.42.

"The competition was really tough but I'm really happy with my team," Zazina said. "This is a really special and proud moment for me and my country." 

In a quality race, the top three dipped under 50 seconds for just the fourth time at these championships.

Hemeida, 17, clocked 49.59, slicing nearly a full second from his previous best of 50.55.

"This is my first time running sub-50 seconds and it came at the right time," Hemeida said. "These championships have given me a lot of experience so hopefully you'll see me at the world senior championships in Doha next year."

Alison dos Santos of Brazil, who ran strong from the gun, was rewarded for his aggressiveness with bronze and a 49.78 lifetime best.

"I didn't expect a medal so I'm very happy with the bronze," he said. "Now, I will party!" 

It's likely that so too will Jamaican Leonardo Ledgister, who also dipped under 50 seconds, clocking 49.93 for fourth, just ahead of teammate Malik James-King who timed 50.25.

Related items

  • A healthy Danielle Williams clocks new indoor 200m PB A healthy Danielle Williams clocks new indoor 200m PB

    Being healthy during the preseason for the first time in the past few seasons was a key factor behind Danielle Williams’ indoor personal best at the Clemson Invitational in South Carolina on Saturday.

  • Fraser-Pryce, Gayle named Jamaica's athletes of the year Fraser-Pryce, Gayle named Jamaica's athletes of the year

    World Champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Tajay Gayle were named the 2019 RJRGleaner Sports Foundation Sportswoman and Sportsman of the Year in an awards ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus on Friday.

    Fraser-Pryce saw the award presented to her for a fourth time, having previously claimed the honour in 2012, 2013 and 2015.  The recognition capped off an exceptional season for the diminutive sprinter who previously became the only athlete to win the 100m World Championship title on four occasions with triumph in Doha.

    Quartermiler Shericka Jackson, who claimed three gold medals at the World Championships, with bronze in the 400m and 4x400m along with gold in the 4x100m, was runner up behind Fraser-Pryce.

    The year was also an exceptional one for Gayle.  The athlete created history at the Doha World Championships after upstaging Juan Miguel Echevarria to claim top spot.  The winning jump was the longest in the world in 10 years.  It was also the farthest distance recorded at the World Championships since Ivan Pedroso’s 8.70m leap in Gothenburg, recorded some 24 years ago.

    Fedrick Dacres, the World Championships discus silver medallist, was voted runner up to the Sportsman of the Year.  The other male nominees were Christopher Binnie (squash), Yona Knight-Wisdom (diving) and Travis Smikle (athletics).  Fraser-Pryce and Jackson were joined by Alia Atkinson (swimming) and Rushell Clayton, Natoya Goule, Shanieka Ricketts, Danniel Thomas-Dodd, Elaine Thompson and Danielle Williams.

  • Briana Williams signs multi-year deal with Nike Briana Williams signs multi-year deal with Nike

    Briana Williams has gone pro!

    The 17-year-old Jamaican, who had an outstanding year in 2019, has signed a multi-year contract with Nike. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Recognized as one of the rising stars in track and field having won the sprint double at the World U20 Championships in Tampere in 2018, Williams was courted by a number of shoe companies with PUMA and Nike being the frontrunners.

    Nike eventually won the right to the signature of the talented teen, whose coach Ato Boldon confirmed the signing to Sportsmax.TV.

    “Briana has had people dedicated to her abilities for many years. Even before me, Coach Tennessee and Coach Damion Thomas, have done right by her,” Boldon said.

    “I was just handed the baton for this leg of the race, but I’ve been around this industry a long time and for a company like Nike, who can back anyone, to put this level of support behind Briana, makes all of the work over the last five years, worth it. She is extremely blessed and fortunate to be where she is at just 17.”

    Williams, who turns 18 in March, said the Nike deal has provided a platform for her to chase her dreams.

    “I’m extremely proud. I have come a long way. This is a big deal for me because I’m young but I’m ready to show the world what I am capable of,” said Williams who now belongs to the group (HSI) that includes indoor 400m WR holder Mike Norman and world champions Christian Coleman and Dalilah Muhammad.

    “I’m glad that Nike gave me this opportunity. It means the world to me as a girl with big dreams.”

    The year 2019 was a big year for Williams. She won the 100m at the NACAC U18 Championships in Mexico and the Pan Am U20 Championships in Costa Rica during the year in which she ran unbeaten at the junior level.

    She also won the Austin Sealy Award at the CARIFTA Games for the second year running after winning three gold medals, duplicating her achievements in 2018. In June, she set a Jamaican junior record of 11.02s in New Mexico.

    Track & Field News, considered the bible of the sport, recognized her stellar year by naming her their High School Athlete of the Year for 2019.

    The prodigious teen suffered a setback during the year when she returned an adverse finding for a banned diuretic found in her urine sample at the Jamaican National Championships in June where she finished third in the 100m behind two-time Olympic champions Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

    As such, her time of 10.94s, which would have been a U18 world record and a national junior record for Jamaica, was subsequently struck from the record books.

    Following a hearing before an Independent Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel in September, Williams was reprimanded but was free to compete. However, due to how late the verdict came, her chances of competing at the 2019 World Championships in Doha were effectively dashed.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.