Shaunae Miller on the way to the World youth 400m title in Lille (© Getty Images)
Living up to her favourite’s role, Shaunae Miller cruised to the girls’ World youth 400m title to become the first-ever winner over the distance for The Bahamas.
Miller looked every bit the champion from the gun and down the backstraight, choosing not to panic as Canada’s Christian Brennan running to her inside sped to a sizeable lead and making up the stagger through the first half. Running composed, the slender Bahamian forged on with a strong final curve to find herself at the front as the pack entered the final straight.
As Brennan slowed, Miller forged on unopposed to collect the victory in 51.84, knocking 0.01 from her previous personal best set earlier this year and adding the World youth title to the global junior title she captured one year ago in Moncton, Canada.
“The Canadian’s start didn’t worry me,” said Miller, who joined yesterday’s boys’ Shot Put winner Jacko Gill and international superstar Usain Bolt as athletes who followed up World junior titles with World youth triumphs. “I made the difference in the last 100 metres.”
While she did slow significantly in the latter stages, the 16-year-old Brennan maintained her form long enough to take silver in 52.14, holding off Jamaican Olivia James by a scant 0.02. Both used the biggest stages they’ve ever competed on to notch massive personal bests: Brennan improved by 0.37, James by exactly half a second.
Robin Reynolds of the USA was a distant fourth with a season’s best 52.72. World leader (51.62) Chrisann Gordon of Jamaica faded badly in the second and wasn't a factor in the waning stages, fading to seventh in 53.31.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF