There was a huge shock in the 110m hurdles as nine years after winning Olympic bronze Hansle Parchment went two places better as he won gold in a season’s best time of 13.04 seconds.
World champion Grant Holloway went into Tokyo as one of the biggest favourites in any event. In the US trials he just missed the world record with a 12.81 in his semi-final and that gave him two tenths of an advantage over his rivals and his case was seemingly helped when defending champion Omar McLeod, who was second in the world rankings with 13.01, was controversially overlooked after the Jamaican Trials after messing his final up.
The Jamaicans were ridiculed for leaving behind their fastest man but the selectors had the last laugh as they took first and third with Holloway losing all momentum over the closing hurdles and only holding on to second thanks to a spectacular dive.
The American ran 13.02 in his heat and a repeat of that would have won him gold. He got a solid start and reaction [0.136] and at halfway was hurdling at his best well clear of the field and seemingly on his way to a 12.8 clocking but as the race went on he began to lose his fluidity and speed.
Parchment went past Holloway in the final metres and so too seemingly did Levy but the American was given the verdict 13.09 to 13.10.
“The greatest feeling, the greatest feeling, I’ve worked so hard. It’s unbelievable that I caught this guy [Holloway]. I’m really grateful,” said Parchment.
The 31-year-old went into the event ranked outside the world top 10 and was third in the Jamaican Championships and the one probably most vulnerable to those who thought McLeod, who was much faster in his semi-final, should be in Tokyo and his qualifying rounds did not suggest he would win the gold.
Holloway did his best to smile and wave the US flag but was clearly bitterly disappointed.
“Everybody knows I’m going to get out strong. Now it just comes to a point where I’ve got to finish strong. I did it once when I was two shaves [0.02s] off the world record so I know I can do it. I just think the nerves, the big atmosphere got the best of me a little bit. But I’m young, I’ve got a lot of races under my belt so I’ll take this with a grain of salt and I keep moving forward. This was not the outcome that I wanted but it enables me to say I’m an Olympic medallist.”
Devon Allen maintained his consistency and went one better than he did in Rio in 2016 with 13.14 for fourth.
Pascal Martinot-Lagarde narrowly became the leading European in fifth in 13.16 and he was followed home by Asier Martinez of Spain in 13.22 and Andrew Pozzi who ran 13.30 for seventh.
For half of the final the Briton showed the speed that took him to a world indoor title and he was in the thick of the medal battle but he lost his rhythm over the last few hurdles. However it was still his best ever global outdoor performance by some distance as he made the final at the fifth attempt.
He said: “Unfortunately I didn’t quite have the race that I wanted. I just didn’t quite have enough today and it’s difficult to say but that’s just the situation… I gave it my best. I’ve worked really hard in order to be here and try be in my best shape, but that’s all I had today.
“I arrived in a good place. There’s no excuses unfortunately. I just didn’t have enough and that’s just the way it is. I prepared really well, worked really hard with an amazing group of people who have supported me so much and I’m just very grateful for everyone that’s given me the opportunity to come out here and give it my best.”
Source: Steve Smythe