Tia Jones on her way to winning the 100m hurdles at the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 (© Getty Images)
Sprint hurdler Tia Jones won the USA’s first individual gold medal of the IAAF World U20 Championships Tampere 2018 on the sixth and final day of competition – but only just.
Jones, 17, was blistering out of the blocks and her rhythm did not seem unduly blighted by the fact she clipped two flights of hurdles at considerable speed, although she acknowledged after the race that her final was not her cleanest race of the contest. Not that it mattered in the end as Jones became the fifth US winner of the 100m hurdles title since 2004.
The bronze medallist from two years ago still had a tangible lead off the final flight of barriers but she was being closed down quickly by Jamaica's Brittany Anderson who set a lifetime best of 13.10 in the semifinal.
Jones crossed the finish line with her arms aloft in celebration but Anderson, who was drawn on her immediate outside, was by far the strongest off the final hurdle. They shared an identical time of 13.01 and even though their time down to the thousandths was also the same, the judges could just about separate them on the photo finish.
"It was a very tight race, it was nice to get the win but I hoped for a better time. I hit a couple of hurdles in the middle of the race," said Jones, who ran faster two years ago to finish third, although that final in Bydgoszcz did have a 2.0m/s tailwind. "My preliminary run was the best run here."
Anderson won the world U18 title last year and at 17, she will still be eligible for the World U20 Championships in 2020 by virtue of a January 2001 birthdate. She also knows what she needs to work on between then and now.
“I’m feeling great to be the silver medallist and I am really grateful for everything, especially running a PB,” she said. “I need to keep working on my start more in order to win gold next time.”
Cortney Jones was a comfortable bronze medallist in 13.19 but injured herself on crossing the line and had to be helped up on to the podium to receive her medal.
France’s Sacha Alessandrini was fourth in a 13.34 while her teammate Cyrena Samba-Mayela, whose coach Ladji Doucoure won the world 110m hurdles title in Helsinki back in 2005, was eighth in 14.11.
Steven Mills for the IAAF