Barbara Pierre wins the 60m at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016 (© Getty Images)
It was the start that ended it.
In the women’s 60m final on Saturday night, Barbara Pierre of the United States made the most of an explosive exit from the blocks to propel her to victory in 7.02 ahead of Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands (7.04) and Elaine Thompson of Jamaica (7.08).
Afterwards, Pierre was quick to acknowledge that it was those first 20 metres which had been the deciding factor in taking her first world title.
“It’s the 60 and it’s really short, so you have to get out,” she said. “It’s very important.”
Pierre has been a revelation this season, having taken her personal best from 7.08 down to 7.00 in one fell swoop to win the US indoor title last weekend, which propelled her into favouritism alongside Schippers ahead of this weekend’s event.
In the final, she had a quicker reaction time (0.138) than either Schippers or Thompson, and it showed. The US sprinter led from the moment they rose from the blocks, and despite Schippers rallying through the latter half of the race, it wasn’t enough.
“It means a lot,” said Pierre. “I’ve worked really really hard and to see it come out means a lot. I had to bring it home because the crowd was so loud and I thought: ‘I have to do this, I have to finish.’ It gave me that extra bit.”
Back in second, Schippers was understandably upset with her performance which, leaving aside the semi-final earlier in the day, was her first defeat of the year. “It was not a good race,” she said. “My start was not so good but my speed was very good. I’m just going to go for the outdoor season now and run the 100m and 200m.”
Thompson, who was the fastest in the semifinal when running 7.04, was pleased with third. “It’s my first World Indoor Championships and I won the bronze,” she said. “I’m really excited about that. My good race in the semifinal motivated and pushed me. In the semifinal I had a great start. In the final, I didn’t, but I can’t complain.”
Cathal Dennehy for the IAAF