BARCELONA, Spain — Javarn Gallimore is on course to create Jamaican track and field history as he seeks to become the first male to win a 400m hurdles medal at the IAAF World Junior Championships level when he takes the top time into today's final set for 8:00 pm (1:00 pm Jamaica time).
Yesterday in the semi-finals, Gallimore, who shook off serious injuries to successfully defend his Boys' Champs title, ran a personal best and World Junior Leading 50.45 seconds to win his race and advance to the final as the man to beat.
"I am on a mission," he said yesterday. "I give God thanks and all the credits as He is the reason I am here."
Despite outstanding success by the women who have won nine medals, a gold, two silver and six bronze in the event at the WJC, no Jamaican man has ever won a medal in the event at this level.
Kaliese Spencer won gold in 2006 in Beijing, China; Melaine Walker won two medals — a bronze in 2000 and a silver in 2002; Allison Beckford won a silver in 1998, while Winsome Cole in 1992, Tanya Jarrett in 1996, Camile Robinson in 2002 and Sherene Pinnock, twice in 2004, and 2006 all won bronze.
Despite shaving almost .40 seconds off his personal best, the third time he was lowering his PB this year, Gallimore was not totally happy with his execution yesterday and thinks if he gets things right in the final he will run even faster.
The National Junior record 50.24 seconds held by Josef Robertson since 2006 could be under threat.
In post-race interviews yesterday, Gallimore said he was too relaxed on the back stretch and had hit the eighth hurdle, "throwing me off badly".
Gallimore rated his race execution as an eight out of 10 and said he would go back and talk to the coaches and see where they can improve, pointing to his start as one area.
Kirk Douglas, who is responsible for the hurdlers here, told the Jamaica Observer that while Gallimore "ran a very good controlled race, his hurdling is still ragged," but said if he can "distribute his pace throughout the entire 400m", he would do well.
Both Douglas and head coach Michael Dyke expressed disappointment with the failure of Shavon Barnes to get past the semi-finals as he was second off the last hurdle but faded to fifth.
The Racers TC athlete hit two hurdles, the first and last, and struggled home in 51.8 seconds.