Janieve Russell became the second Jamaican woman to win the World Junior 400m Hurdles title after Kaliese Spencer back in 2006, following a fantastic display which saw the 18-year-old set a new World Junior leading time of 56.62 here in Barcelona.
Russell also bagged her country’s second gold this week and interestingly the first one in sprint events after team-mate Fedrick Dacres’ title in the Men’s Discus Throw.
The world leader coming into these championships, Russell made her intentions clear from the early rounds convincingly advancing to the final. As usual, she decided to start out fast in tonight’s final and by hurdle number 3 she had already made up the stagger on Olena Kolesnychenko and Shamier Little running in the lanes on her outside.
France’s Aurélie Chaboudez, in the furthest lane 9 was also running strongly maintaining second position as she entered the final bend.
Russell was a clear leader coming into the home straight but her pattern wasn’t as clean as in the early stages and with Chaboudez also tightening up it was the tall figure of Little who came back into the forefront. The American was clearly the freshest of the three, having run a more conservative first half of the race but that was all to come to an end when the 17-year-old crashed to the floor at the very last barrier.
With Russell securely winning gold, Chaboudez was now a clear silver medallist the Frenchwoman setting a new National Junior record 57.14. It was France’s third medal of the day and a fantastic way to celebrate Bastille Day.
Despite Little’s dramatic fall, the USA would not go home medalless in this event as Kaila Barber won the race for bronze in 57.63 ahead of Kolesnychenko (58.10) who was unable to match the 57.35 personal best she had set to win her semi-final last night.
Norway’s Vilde Svortevik who had cut more than one second off her personal best to qualify yesterday in a National junior record 57.39, had to be content with sixth in 58.45 just behind Turkey’s Kübra Sesli who had also set a National Junior record 57.45 yesterday but stopped the clock at 58.35 for fifth this evening.