Coming into these Championships twotime winner Terrence Trammell was the season’s fastest hurdler, reigning US champion and undefeated all winter.
Tonight, the 31-year-old American ran the best 60m Hurdles of his life, the equal fourth fastest ever in the world and became the co-owner of the American record with Greg Foster and Allen Johnson and yet it was not enough for the win.
As it turns out Dayron Robles was just that little bit faster winning his first World Indoor title at 7.34, the third fastest of all-time.
The final had been expected to be one of the highlights of the championships and together with so many incredible performances here in Doha it lived-up to the bill. Trammell and Robles were in a class of their own today so it was unavoidable that attention was drawn to these two.
Trammell had the best reaction time and the best transition up to the first hurdle. On the other hand, Robles had the slowest reaction but don’t let this piece of information fool you, he was right there up in the mix. Trammell’s technique was impeccable and he managed to hold on, marginally yes, but he held on.
Gritting his teeth Trammell was still marginally ahead as both touched the ground coming off the final barrier. And then with what looked like a move out of nowhere, Robles ate up on Trammell. With two of the most powerful steps, Robles made the difference and dipped oh-so-well to the line.
It looked close to the naked eye but then the replay left no doubt as to who had won it.
“I wanted to break the World record here,” commented Robles referring to Colin Jackson’s 7.30 mark. “Many people at home were expecting this gold. I did it here with the world's best hurdlers so I am very happy. I knew the race would be decided in the photo finish as Trammell is very fast and has a great start.
“I love racing with him because every time we meet I run great times. I am as excited as breaking the world record. It is as important as winning the Olympic gold. Everyone was waiting for this.”
Trammell said: “I did a mistake coming up to the fifth hurdle. So I must be happy to run a US record after that. But it also shows that I can think about world records.”
Trammell's time was by far the fastest losing time and would have won a gold at any of the 12 previous editions of these championships.
Olympic bronze medallist David Oliver won the race for the remaining medal in a personal best time 7.44 clearly ahead of Yevgeniy Borisov who could not repeat his bronze medal winning effort of two years ago.
Defending champion Liu Xiang who came to Doha although not fully recovered from a tendon injury still managed to improve his season’s best to 7.65 in seventh with Petr Svoboda and Maurice Wignall respectively fifth and sixth.
Two years ago Robles was the outright favourite to win gold in the men’s 60m Hurdles in Valencia. As we know, a terrible misjudgment at the start of his first round heat cost him a place among the qualifiers, hence the gold medal all but himself had already awarded him with.
It was a difficult competition for the then 21-year-old but one which would mark his career as the most important lesson an athlete can learn. Since, Robles has gone on to set a new outdoor World record and win the Olympic Games before an injury-plagued season in 2009.
Returning to Doha with a lot to prove and maybe with less pressure Robles proved that he can deliver even when the competition is tougher than it’s ever been.
Laura Arcoleo for the IAAF