Jehue Gordon in the mens 400m Hurdles at the AAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Feature Moscow, Russia

Gordon puts heart and soul in dramatic Hurdles win

To the naked eye, it was almost impossible to tell who won the dramatic men's 400m Hurdles final at the IAAF World Championships on Thursday, but Trinidad and Tobago's Jehue Gordon knew.

"My heart actually left my body and went over the line and my body went behind it," said the excited Gordon as he explained rather graphically how he claimed the victory over USA’s Olympic silver medallist Michael Tinsley by 0.01.

"I just gave my heart, body and soul, everything."

Seemingly tied with a step to go, Gordon and his US rival dove for the finish line, thrusting their chests out so far they tumbled to the track after the tape.

"I just wanted to rise up and see my name at the top of the board," added Gordon.

Official timing gave the 21-year-old the win in the fastest time in the world this year, a national record of 47.69, with Tinsley a tick behind in a personal best.

"I just remembered my coach kept telling me it was going to be a foot race coming home and I just put my foot down," said the home-trained 2010 World junior champion who was sixth in London last year.

"And I remember my mom telling me to push ahead."

The coach, Ian Hypolite, had told him he was in phenomenal shape, "and I kept patience, I kept calm and I ran my race and I executed the best race of my life today," said Gordon

He is only the second Trinidadian to win a gold medal at the World Championships, after Ato Boldon's 200m win in 1997. "I did this for myself... and my coach who has been there for me since I was 12 years old,” said Gordon.

"I must give this big achievement to him because he has had a lot of criticism over the years," said Gordon, who had not won medals in his previous two World Championships appearances, although it has to be remember that he is still 21.

"I wanted to show people I did not need to go outside to be successful," he said, when asked why he had not gone to the US college system, or elsewhere, to develop despite the plethora of offers that came in the wake of his win at the 2010 IAAF World Junior Championships.

"I wanted to be the World champion after being the World junior champion. I wanted to be the Olympic champion, the Commonwealth Games champion," he said.

"But it is not easy on a 21-year-old trying to be a student and a professional athlete at the same time," reflected the University of West Indies student, who is majoring in sports management with minors in human resources and marketing.

"I just finished my third year. I have 10 more courses to finish, but I may take the first semester off," he said. "But I am going back to school."

Once things settled down Thursday night, he said he was going to take a cold shower back at the team hotel to make sure he wasn’t dreaming, and to make a call to his mother back in Trinidad also was in the works.

"She is never going to watch (him run)," said Gordon. "She doesn't want to suffer from the pressure.”

Gene Cherry for the IAAF