De'Jour Russell on his way to victory in the boys' 110m hurdles final at the IAAF U18 World Championships Nairobi 2017 (© Getty Images)
When you’re as fast as this, who needs a good start? De’Jour Russell may have reacted casually to the gun in the boys’ 110m hurdles final, but such was the Jamaican’s supremacy it proved irrelevant, the 17-year-old star powering away from his rivals to take gold in 13.04, a championship record.
His chief rival for gold, Lu Hao-Hua of Chinese Taipei, reacted quickly out of the blocks (0.156), giving him what amounted to a head-start over Russell, whose reaction time was just 0.227. In truth, though, it mattered little. As soon as Russell found his rhythm over the opening few barriers, which he dwarfed with his lengthy frame – his stride so long he appeared to stutter between hurdles – the Jamaican made it look like a case of man versus boys.
Russell had run a championship record of 13.08 to win his heat, and he again surpassed that here, crossing the line in 13.04 and not looking overly troubled by the effort, though perhaps if there was any trace of disappointment, it was in coming up short of compatriot Jaheel Hyde’s world U18 best of 12.96. If anything, it would seem he has too much speed between the barriers to do justice to the event with the U18 height hudles.
“It’s been a great championship for me,” he said. “I have learnt that every step you make, make it count. I listened to my coach’s instructions, which helped me a lot. I really wanted to win gold for my country and I’m happy to have set a championship record.”
Further back, Lu came through in 13.41 to take the silver medal, and was suitably delighted with his runner-up position behind the unbeatable Russell. “It’s special because I ran next to my idol, Russell. My target is to eventually be in the Olympics.”
France’s Thomas Wanaverbecq took third in 13.55. “I had a solid start and Russell and Lu were very strong,” he said. “It is a fantastic moment for me.”
Spain’s Enrique Llopis was fourth in 13.58, with Romania’s Alexandru Iconaru come home fifth in 13.69.
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF