Stuart Weir reminds us that we can learn much from the women’s 400m hurdles and 100m hurdles races at the Bislett Games…
— IAAF Diamond League (@Diamond_League) June 13, 2019
The first Diamond race of the evening was the women’s 400m hurdles with 19 year old, Sydney McLaughlin (USA) the surprise winner. She finished in 54.16 ahead of Dalilah Muhammad (54.35). With Shamier Little and Kori Carter following them it was a 1-2-3-4 for USA.
McLaughlin said of the race: “I didn’t get out well. I hit the first hurdle with my knee but recovered well by fighting back. I’ve got to work on my first half of the race, the second half is always my strongest. It was a really great field and exciting to be a part of. It wasn’t the cleanest race for me but I came back strong and that shows me where I am, fitness wise. It was a sloppy race but I pulled through. That was the strongest field and the women’s 400m hurdles has a great future”
Muhammed said: “It was not my day, I lost and did not run under 54 seconds. I was not surprised by Sydney. In my previous races I did not run well the first half of the race, today I tried, but it did not work like I wanted. But we need a defeat to make the races better. It was an experience today and I take that with me into championships”.
Christina Clemons has had a good week. First she won in the Paavo Nurmi in Finland, running 12.85 in the final and 12.58 in the prelim. Then in Oslo, she won again in 12.69 from Sharika Nelvis (12.74). Remember how Christina and Sharika went head to head in the IAAF Indoor series last year? It looked like a repeat in the Bislett with it seeming impossible to separate the two until the final few strides. The victory was made a little easier by the false start of the Olympic champion, Brianna McNeal – to whom we shall return later.
Clemons summed up her reaction: “I’m pretty satisfied – the crowd was great and it’s amazing to come here to such great fans – track and field is much bigger over here than in the States. It was really good fun, I had to focus after the false start, put it all out there and just be sharp. The start’s my strong point and execution is the most important thing, I felt good and I got the win. I’m definitely focused now on the USA’s – making the team is no joke so that’s all I can think about now, and then making sure I take a medal in Doha”.
Mc Neal tweeted afterwards: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 NIV
Four things struck me from the athletes’ reaction to the races.
1 Sydney McLaughlin won her race but reading her post race quotes you could easily think it had been a disaster. This self-critical attitude and striving for more, will take for a long way.
2 I liked, too, Muhammad’s acceptance of defeat and eagerness to learn from it: “we need a defeat to make the races better”.
3 Clemons is not allowing herself to get carried away by her victory, already focusing on the challenge of the U.S. trials with no over-confidence.
4 I loved the way McNeal did not allow a frustration to get out of perspective but rather she interpreted it in the light of her core beliefs.