The men’s 110m Hurdles World Junior title went to the man who did the fewest mistakes tonight in Moncton as the race was run into a negative 2.4m head wind.
That man today was Pascal Martinot-Lagarde of France who clocked 13.52 to take his country’s second gold of the week ahead of Vladimir Vukicevic of Norway and pre-event favourite Jack Meredith of Great Britain both credited with 13.59.
Meredith set off to arguably the poorest start of his still young career and was trailing the rest of the field as the USA’s Caleb Cross, running in lane 7 blasted out of the blocks and held a convincing lead up until hurdle nine when drama struck.
Martinot-Lagarde, who only scraped through yesterday’s round after a hesitant semi final was drawn in the outside lane 8 but was in close contention with Cross. The Frenchman made a huge mistake at the third hurdle but his big frame helped him recover quick enough although Cross was speeding away.
Meanwhile, Meredith was working as hard as he could to make up ground and that pushed him to additional technical mistakes over the barriers, yet the Liverpool-based didn’t give up and fought to the line.
In the inside lanes, Vukicevic and Baines were also in the mix for a spot on the podium but attention focused back again on Cross who was still in the lead but knocked down the ninth hurdle, lost his tempo before also hitting the last obstacle and losing all his speed. He was a dejected fifth as four dipped desperately to the line.
Martinot-Lagarde was given the nod ahead of the Vukicevic, who adds another silver to the family collection following his sister Christina’s 2004 World silver medal, and a dejected Meredith whose brave efforts were rewarded with a bronze medal.
Baines ended up fourth at 13.62 ahead of Cross who managed to go through the line in 13.86.