It’s very simple: titles or places on the podium, since the start of the Worlds in Eugene, Oregon, the sprint events have been the quasi-property of the Americans or Jamaicans.
The two 100 meters, the two 200 meters, the 110 meters hurdles, the two 400 meters hurdles and the two 400 meters… The made in USA team won thirteen medals and Jamaica, five. That is 18 medals out of a provisional total of 27 (in individual events, only the 100 meter hurdles remain to be run during the last weekend of competition).
In this landscape, a few rare exceptions have emerged. Brazilian Alison dos Santos in the 400 meter hurdles on Tuesday July 19. Or the Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo on the lap, Friday July 22.
No American athlete (eliminated in the semi-finals) or Jamaican (two present in the final) managed to slip onto the podium in the women’s 400 meters. A first since July 16. Three other Caribbean nations stood out: the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and Barbados.
We were expecting an epic battle between Shaunae Miller-Uibo and the Dominican Marileidy Paulino, the first finally never trembled, having the luxury of finishing by releasing. It was the competitor from Barbados, Sada Williams, who took the bronze medal. The two Jamaican riders entered in the final finished 5e and 7e.
No American or Jamaican sprinter on the women’s 400m podium
Shaunae Miller-Uibo, double Olympic champion, had never won the world title. She had failed twice, silver medalist in 2015 and the last time in 2019, beaten in Doha by Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser. The latter had achieved a stunning time of 48.19 seconds in the final, almost a second better than her best performance at the time.
The Bahamian had learned a few months after her second place that her rival had failed three times in her whereabouts obligations in the context of the fight against doping. And even a fourth time after the Worlds… Eid Naser was first suspended, then cleared, before finally being suspended for two years in 2021.
“My concern is for World Athletics and the IAU (Athletics Integrity Unit) and the role they playMiller-Uibo was indignant, The recent turn of events, with their many errors, in my opinion, opens the door to many questions: what took them so long to make this information public? How is it possible that this case lasted until the 2019 World Championships? »
This time, Shauna Miller-Uibo took her revenge on a regular basis. She asserts herself as the worthy successor of Marie-José Pérec, double Olympic and world champion in the 400 meters and still holder of the Olympic record for the distance.
Before the Worlds, the two champions met in Paris through the team. “Everyone who does the 400m is a fan [de Pérec] ! She’s my favorite athlete, I’ve always had her as a role model, I’ve watched her races and we have a lot in common, height, speed, the 200m and the 400mhad confided the Bahamian, Hopefully I can be as strong as her. »
At 25, Marileidy Paulino, corporal in the Dominican Air Force, once again earned military honors with a second individual silver medal. The first woman from her country to win an Olympic medal in athletics in Tokyo last year – she had brandished her spikes and… the Bible after her first silver medal.
At the opening of the Worlds, a week ago, the mixed relay team, of which she is a centerpiece, had won the title in Eugene.
✅Marileidy Paulino🏃 🔹Dos medallas de plata en atletismo de Tokyo 2020: 400 my relevos mixtos 4×400 m 🔹Es la muje… https://t.co/zEFcIwyCcX
An already legendary world record
Things returned to “normal” – much to the delight of the home crowd – in the men’s 400m and women’s 400m hurdles finals. The terror of the 400 meter hurdles, Sydney McLaughlin has pushed her limits, thanks to another world record, her fourth since June 27, 2021 and her second in a month. The American is the first woman to go under 51 seconds.
The next two world champions were both members of the United States team. Michael Norman was the fastest in 44.29 seconds, thanks to a magnificent final straight that put him ahead of Grenadian Kirani James, 44.48 seconds. Briton Matthew Hudson-Smith finished third.
The inevitable Sydney McLaughlin, world record holder, was merciless to her opponents. At the cost of a new world record of 50.68 seconds, she crushed the Dutch Femke Bol (52.27 seconds) and her compatriot Dalilah Muhammad (53.13 seconds). In many respects, this world record resembles that achieved in Tokyo in the Olympic final by Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who was the first 400m hurdles runner to go below 46 seconds.