USA’s Norman Grimes produced one of the most dominant 400m hurdles performances in IAAF World Youth Championships history as he crushed the field to win by more than a second before a high-energy crowd at Pascual Guerrero Stadium on Saturday (18).
The 17-year-old’s 49.11 performance was the second-fastest winning time ever in these championships, a world youth lead, and a massive 1.22 seconds clear of the Japanese runner-up Ryusei Fujii.
“I knew I had to run sub-50 to get a medal so I had to go for it,” said Grimes, who moved up to the number two position on the world youth all-time list over the 84cm barriers. “I just felt better and better going through the rounds.”
Grimes had already built a clear lead by the contest’s midway point. The only thing that could stop him would be a misstep or crash. Neither came to pass. Instead, the lanky Texan was the picture of confidence as he rounded the bend into the final straight.
“Tonight my legs felt as fresh as they did when I arrived,” he said. “Technically, I 13-stepped almost the whole way. That, together with the great crowd, made me just felt great.”
Inspired by Grimes’ stellar performance, the next three across the line all produced lifetime bests.
Fujii clocked 50.33, more than half a second better than his previous best, for second place while team-mate Masaki Toyoda took the bronze medal in 50.53, improving his best by 0.19.
“Me and my friend Ryusei have always talked about being on the podium together so we’re very excited about this achievement,” Toyoda said.
Rivaldo Peacock of Barbados was a distant fourth, clocking 51.13.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF