Delight for Clayton, tears for Russell
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Rushell Clayton was not going to go home without a medal, and from the first round of the women’s 400m hurdles on Monday’s day three it was all business as she ended the World Championships with a bronze medal in a personal best 52.81 seconds, beating the 53.30 seconds she had set in the semi-finals.
Not only was it her second bronze after she was also third in Doha, Qatar, in 2019, but she moved into third best of all time on the Jamaican list just past Olympic gold medallist Deon Hemmings.
It was a historic night for Jamaica as three athletes lined up at the start with national champion Janieve Russell, who was seventh in 54.28 seconds, and Andrenette Knight eighth in 55.20 seconds in her first World Championships final.
Holland’s Femke Bol won the gold with 51.70 seconds in a commanding performance, almost a second better than American Shamier Little, who ran a season’s best 52.80 seconds.
“I needed this,” Clayton said. “I had to get a medal, you have no idea how much this means.”
Clayton was third at the JAAA national championships in July having won her first two races at the championships, running faster each time. She praised her coach Reynaldo Walcott, who she said was there for her through a tough season.
It ended in tears for Russell, however, who was bitterly disappointed: “I’m very disappointed in my efforts, I thought I was doing really well, but it wasn’t enough… Oh gosh, I worked so hard, [but] I am grateful to be in the finals, it’s been such a long time, it’s been eight years. I wanted more, but I came up short.
“I have no idea what happened. I think I was in the mix in the race and in the latter part I just started to slow down.” she said through tears. “I can’t explain explain the race but I just came out to represent my country and myself and my family and I came seventh. It was all I could give tonight.”
Knight, was also disappointed, saying her race did not go as planned.
“The result was not what we hoped for, but I have to be grateful in this moment. It’s my first real professional year, first World Championships; made it into the final so you know that alone I have to be grateful for. It’s definitely not what we’re capable of doing right now, but just not the best execution today.”