Yanique Thompson in the girls' 100m Hurdles (Flag) at the IAAF World Youth Championships 2013 (Rachel Rominger) © Copyright
Feature Donetsk, Ukraine

Thompson thrilled to become the first girl hurdler under 13 seconds

Internationally renowned sprinters Asafa Powell and Yohan Blake both hail from Spanish Town in Jamaica, as well as singing star Grace Jones, and now Yanique Thompson can add her name to the roll call of famous residents from there.

Thompson ran a virtually flawless race once she got out of her blocks to become the first girl to run under 13 seconds for the 100m Hurdles over the 76.2cm barriers with a winning time of 12.94.

It sliced no less than 0.14 off the previous World youth best which had been held by France’s Adrianna Lamalle, when she won at the first IAAF World Championships in 1999.

Into the bargain, although everyone knows of the feats of Powell and a certain Usain Bolt, Thompson became the first Jamaican to set a global mark over the barriers, at any age and over any distance.

However, even if she caught the rest of the world by surprise, Thompson knew what she was capable of when she came to Donetsk.

“I came here with one objective, to run under 13 seconds. However, I know it’s a great, great achievement but I knew that with all the hard work I’d done that nothing was impossible.

“Going through the hurdles, I noticed that Dior (Hall, the US silver medallist who aslo ran under the former world best with 13.01) was beside me so I tried to stay focused and keep my form and do what I had to do. But under 13 seconds? In one word, amazing.

Pressure point

“I felt a bit of pressure because I knew everyone expected me to win. I didn’t hear anyone during the race but I knew everyone would be shouting for me,” added Thompson, acknowledging raucous Jamaican support just beyond the line which turned up the volume more than a notch after she crossed the finish line.  

Thompson had given an indication of what might be on the cards when she raced to 13.10 in the semifinals, which was a substantial improvement on her personal best and world-leading time of 13.23 which she had run on home soil on Kingston’s famously quick National Stadium track.

“In the semifinals, I wasn’t looking to break any records or do any sort of time, the purpose was just to get to the final. I was concentrating more on my technique. I had been going over the hurdles too high (in the first round) and I wanted to snap down.

“I wanted to come here and get the gold. I wanted to end my career as a youth with something to show for it as I didn’t get a medal at the CARIFTA Games (in March, where she ran the 100m and in the 4x100m)."

Jamaican women 100m hurdlers have made their presence felt for many years, but Thompson singled out 2009 World champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton as the one who has influenced her the most during her young career so far.

“I like all the hurdlers but particularly Brigitte, although I haven’t really talked to them. I just watch the way they run and I really admire it. In this way they push me and I want to be like them and get better.”

Making things in Donetsk even better would be getting a second medal, perhaps even another gold.

Thompson is likely to be part of the Jamaican girls’ Medley Relay team, an event at which her country won gold in Lille two years ago, setting a World youth best. And after Thompson's feats over the barriers, who would bet against her ability to get help get the baton around quickly?

Phil Minshull for the IAAF