Californiabased Trinity Wilson had to run the second fastest youth performance of all-time to grab the Gilrs’ 100m Hurdles gold medal here in Lille.
The US World Youth Trials winner just one week ago, Wilson played second fiddle in the opening rounds yesterday as Switzerland’s Noemi Zbären was catching the fans’ eyes with a 13.31 World Youth leading performance in the heats. Keen to set the record straight, Wilson – who has already been credited with a super-fast 13.15 when winning the National Junior Championships on the senior height hurdles – clocked 13.37 to win her semifinal earlier this afternoon.
All eyes were set on the centre lanes – Wilson in 4 and Zbären in 5 – for the final: it was showdown time!
The tall Swiss took a slightly better start than the rest of the field but her lead over the first barrier was marginal. She was working hard to build a bigger gap between herself and her opponents but Wilson was not going to let the race go. For the first four hurdles, the two ran stride for stride and it is halfway through the race that Zbären started to struggle with her stride pattern; she was indeed travelling at a speed she had never reached before.
Much more powerful in the interval, the American champion gradually pulled away, albeit only by a few inches. Wilson finished with the strongest run-in and crossed the line in a new World Youth leading time of 13.11, the second fastest of all-time and interestingly faster than Olympic silver medallist Sally McLellan’s winning 13.14 effort back in 2003.
Zbären was rewarded with a new personal best 13.17, and to stress the high standard of tonight’s final, hers was the fourth fastest of all-time.
"Before and duing the race, I stayed relaxed,"said Wilson. "My aim was to focus on my race. I wanted to run fast, very fast. And the result is wonderful. It's great news for USA team. With my gold medal and the Kendell's bronze medal, we showed that we were strong."
The pair overshadowed the race for the minor medal which went to the second American in the race Kendell Williams who also ran a personal best to claim bronze 13.28 well clear of Germany’s Alexandra Burghardt who also ran the fastest race of her life in 13.42 for fourth.
Two more athletes ran personal bests in the final, Chrisdale McCarthy of Jamaica (13.55/fifth) and Christelle Vertueux of France (13.82/eighth) although the final was run into a -0.1 headwind.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF