Wilhem Belocian with his 110m hurdles world junior record figures at the IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014 (© Getty Images)
Wilhem Belocian of France became the first junior athlete to ever run the 110m hurdles faster than 13 seconds when he clocked 12.99* over the 99cm barriers to produce the second world junior record of the IAAF World Junior Championships, Oregon 2014.
The European junior champion stormed out of the blocks first and steadily increased the lead with a seamless run over the hurdles.
Belocian had talked about setting a world junior record from the start of the year and had clocked a European junior record of 13.15 recently but his margin of improvement over the previous world record of 13.14, set by the USA’s Eddie Lovett in 2011, was still staggering.
As Lovett's 13.14 was slower than Liu Xiang's 13.12 over the senior hurdles, his mark was not an official world junior record. In 2009 Wayne Davis clocked 13.08, but that was never ratified. But as Belocian's mark is quicker than all three of those performances, now there is no doubt over what the world junior record is.
clocked 13.08, but that was never ratified. But as Belocian's mark is quicker than all three of those performances, now there is no doubt over what the world junior record is.
The bronze medallist two years ago in Barcelona, Belocian follows in the footsteps of his fellow countryman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, who took the global junior title in 2010.
Jamaica’s Tyler Mason made up some ground in the second half of the race and on another day might have had a gold medal hung around his neck after a sparkling run of 13.06, the second-fastest run in history by a junior, but had to settle for the silver medal.
Great Britain’s David Omoregie, another pre-race favourite, finished third in 13.35 after a ragged last three hurdles. He was closely followed home by Liberia’s Welington Zaza, who set an African junior record of 13.38 to finish fourth.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF
*subject to the usual ratification procedures