Just minutes after Ivan Heshko produced a sterling surprise in the men’s 1500m, Derval O’Rourke of Ireland answered with one of her own by winning one of the closest 60m Hurdles finals in the history of the World Indoor Championships.
With her 7.84 performance, the 24-year-old set yet another national record, and more significantly, earned the first gold medal in the event for Ireland.
“I was nervous, but everything was okay during the race,” said O’Rourke, also the Irish record holder outdoors. “I became more confident in every session and I finally understood that I could win.”
In an extremely close race, just four one-hundredths of a second separated the top four finishers. Never faltering, O’Rourke surprised a much more experienced international field, including Spaniard Glory Alozie, the runner-up in 7.86, and Swede Susanna Kallur, the European Indoor champion, who was third in 7.87. Behind the podium trio was American Danielle Carruthers who sped to a personal best 7.88.
Only the 1997 final, with two one-hundredths separating the top four women, has ever been closer.