breaks first World Junior Record in Kingston
19 July 2002 - South
Carolina’s Lashinda Demus already knew what breaking a world record feels like.
Indeed she set the best ever World Junior mark at 400m hurdles at the NCAA
championships earlier this year.
Her time of 54.85 was by
far the best of tonight’s competitors but as for every hurdle race, the race is
never won until the last barrier is cleared.
And Demus, who hadn’t
seemed the best of hurdlers in the heats, proved that she was a tremendous
competitor tonight and clocked a new World Junior Record time of 54.70.
“This is just fantastic. It
feels so good. Coming in these Championships I wanted to break the world record.
No matter how I would better it I just wanted to do it. And to tell you the
truth 54.70 is exactly the time I had hoped for. I had set myself a reachable
goal, not too far from my pb but still an excellent time.”
And it seemed as thought
tonight was the perfect night for Demus. Only, maybe, her compatriot’s fourth
place spoiled the big day.
“We wanted to make it a
gold and silver but Tiffany (Ross) couldn’t beat the Jamaicans,” explained Demus.
Ross was fourth behind
Jamaicans Melanie Walker (56.03) and Camille Robinson (56.14).
“The atmosphere tonight was
just electrifying. The crowd was supporting the Jamaicans so much that it kind
of boosted me too. I could hear them so loud even before we stood behind the
A pure hurdler, Demus
trains at the University of South Carolina under the guidance of Coach Curtis
Frye who led Allen Johnson to World and Olympic honours.
“Coach Frye just told me to
be relaxed and stay focused. And this is what I did. I think I made the
difference at the seventh hurdle. I felt very strong at that point of the race
and the home straight just felt like as if I was flying.”
As every technical running
event, pace and stride are essential and Demus clearly knew what she was doing.
Jumping all the hurdles with the same leg in an event where athletes usually
need to use both legs, she knows she has a great margin of progression.
“I do not alternate legs
because I am not used to it yet. I therefore need to adjust my stride pattern. I
reduce the length of my strides coming up to each hurdle so that I can clear
them with my favourite leg.”
Only just 19, Demus knows
that the future holds great things for her. “I know that the day I learn to
alternate I will improve dramatically but just not yet. I need to work on this.”
“I feel a bit of fatigue in
my legs just now,” said Demus shortly after setting her world record. “The heats
have been very demanding yesterday and I am kind of starting to feel tired.”
But Demus has still an
important race in her schedule. Together with her friends Ross, Richards and
Henderson she will line-up for what could well be her second world record of the