Eric Futch of United States enjoying being Gold after winning the Men's 400 metres hurdles Final on the day four of the IAAF World Junior Championships in Barcelona on 13 July 2012 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Futch’s winning time turned out to be the slowest since 1994 but he set a new World leading performance of 50.24 in compensation.
Drawn in lane 5, Jamaica’s Javarn Gallimore – the season’s world leader at 50.45 set from the semi-final - was fastest from the blocks. Having Futch just outside him in lane 6 Gallimore made up the stagger as the fourth barrier was cleared but it was Japan’s Takahiro Matsumoto who made up precious ground in the second bend to take the lead by the sixth barrier.
Meanwhile Futch remained unaffected when first Gallimore and then Matsumoto sped past him in the early half of the race. The Jamaican’s pattern remained fluid up until hurdle 8 but coming off the final bend he started to fatigue.
By contrast, the still 17-year-old Ibrahim Mohammed Saleh of Saudi Arabia, who was drawn in lane 3, recovered ground over the second bend and entered the home straight still with medal chances.
The closing metres became unforgettable, Matsumoto still led after the last barrier marginally ahead of Gallimore but it was Futch who finished like a train to overtake both men and claim gold in 50.24 still with a couple of metres to spare over Matsumoto (50.41).
Another fast-finisher in the flat section, Saleh stripped Gallimore of the bronze medal at the very last metre, setting a massive 50.47 PB in the process to the Jamaican’s 50.49. Back in sixth Finland’s Oskari Moro also improved his career best to 50.80.
Both Matsumoto and Saleh grabbed their country’s first medal respectively here in Barcelona and the former succeeded his compatriot Takatoshi Abe as World junior silver medallist at the event.
Emeterio Valiente for the IAAF