Mason delivers on promise to mom
…leaves her elated with silver medal
EUGENE, Oregon — On Wednesday evening, almost 24 hours before the final of the men's 110m hurdles final at Hayward Field at the 15th IAAF World Junior Championships, Jamaica's Tyler Mason told his mother Naomi Pottinger it would take something special to beat him.
The confident Mason had told reporters after the semi-finals earlier that day that he could win the gold medal and, but for a slow start, he might have had the chance to back up his boast.
Mason is the second fastest male junior hurdler ever, running a new national junior record and area junior record of 13.06 seconds to lower Omar McLeod's 13.24 seconds set at the ISSA Boys' Champs last year. He also went under the old world junior record of 13.12 seconds set in 2002 by China's Liu Xiang, but had to settle for a silver medal.
He also dipped under the old championships record of 13.18 seconds set by Cuba's Yordan L O'Farrill in Barcelona, Spain, two years ago.
France's Wilhem Belocian became the first junior to run under 13.00 seconds when he clocked 12.99 seconds to take the gold medal, while Great Britain's David Omoregue took the bronze with 13.25 seconds.
As he did in April at the Carifta Games in Martinique, Mason made Belocian work hard and led up to the seventh hurdle before the Frenchman edged him at the line.
Mason's silver was the second men's sprint hurdles medal won by Jamaica at the World Juniors after Keiron Stewart's bronze in Poland in 2008.
Mason told the Jamaica Observer he was going professional after leaving Jamaica College, to train with Racers Track Club, instead of going to college. He also admitted that he knew he was going to be on the podium Thursday evening.
"I was very confident, but got a sloppy start that cost me the gold medal. But I came through with a fast time to beat the previous record as well, so I am grateful," the soft-spoken hurdler said.
"The aim was to run under 13.00 seconds but the start was not good, so I used my top-end speed and passed most of the other runners."
Pottinger, who has been at the championships all week, told the Observer she was pleased with her son's effort. "I am feeling very elated, very humbled and very thankful that God has been so good to us," she said.
She said Mason had told her before the race that any one beating him would have to go under 13.00 seconds, "and he lived up to his promise".
The mother also described her son as "kind", and that he "believes in himself", and noted that while he was the typical teenager with the usual challenges, she was proud of him.