Sarah Lavin finishes fifth in 60m hurdles final, the fastest race in history of women’s indoor sprint hurdles

Sharlene Mawdsley delivered another stunning anchor leg for 4x400m team, as Ireland nailed fifth in their final

It was the fastest race in the history of women’s indoor sprint hurdles, and Sarah Lavin was in the thick of it, finishing fifth best in a thrilling final at the closing session of the World Indoor Championships inside the Glasgow Arena.

A month ago Devynne Charlton from the Bahamas broke the 60m hurdles world record, clocking 7.67 seconds in New York. Tia Jones from the USA since equalled that mark. Last night Charlton claimed the record again, storming to win gold in 7.65 seconds.

Defending champion Cyrena Sambo-Meyela from France took silver in 7.74 seconds, and Poland’s Pia Skrzyszowska won bronze in 7.79. Lavin, after twice running a lifetime best of 7.90 seconds when progressing through the heats and semi-finals, was just outside that mark in fifth, clocking 7.91. American Masai Russell was just ahead of her in fourth, clocking 7.81.

Such are the close margins in sprint hurdles, but for Lavin, who also made the final in Belgrade two years ago, finishing seventh, it unquestionably marks further progress as she looks towards the outdoors season with real aspirations now of making the Olympic final in Paris in the 100m hurdles.


“I didn’t quite pull out a medal, and am a little disappointed with that,” said Lavin, the 29-year-old from Limerick who has been a model of consistency this last year. “But a world record time, and I think that was the fastest time ever to win bronze. And to be that consistent, I have to take hope from that.

“I think now, actually I know I can win a major medal now. It wasn’t to be today, but this is my second World indoor final, I’d a different mindset here, I genuinely feel I can contest for that major medal now.”

It is 18 years since Derval O’Rourke won gold in this event, and Lavin’s podium time might come yet.

After her redemption run of sorts earlier in the day, Sharlene Mawdsley delivered another stunning anchor leg for the Irish women’s 4x400m team, who also nailed fifth in their final, the Jamaican team failing to finish after dropping the baton on the third leg, accidentally knocked out of the hands of Charokee Young.

With Femke Bol adding to her world record run in the individual final by anchoring the Dutch women to gold in 3:25.07, just ahead of the US women, Mawdsley clocked the second fastest split of the entire race, her 50.47 seconds helping the Irish quartet finish in 2:28.92.

Clearly fired up after her disqualification from the individual 400m semi-final on Friday night, Mawdsley deemed to have caused a minor infringement entering the last bend, the Tipperary athlete had earlier also brought bright the Irish team home in a national record 3:28.45, enough to advance to the final as one of the fastest non-automatic qualifiers.

Phil Healy again led away the team with a blistering opening 200m, passing over to Sophie Becker in fourth; they dropped to sixth by the next leg, Still, the Irish women were just 1.69 off the podium, Great Britain taking third, Belgium fourth in a national record of 3:28.5

“That’s our first World indoor final, we’re making finals year after year, and that’s super for this team,” said Healy.

Mawdsley added: “That’s two good back-to-back performances for me, I have to be happy with that. Nothing is guaranteed, but hopefully we can all build on this now and qualify for the Paris Olympics.

Bol, the 23-year-old pride of Amersfoort, had broken her own 400m world record in her gold medal win on Friday night, running a sensational 49.17 seconds, ahead of her compatriot and training partner Lieke Klaver.

Mawdsley had earlier run a split of 50.48 seconds, which was the fastest leg of any athlete in either of the heats: “I had my cry, a few cries,” she said of her disqualification, “then yesterday had relay training with the girls, they made me forget about it. and they were all as hungry as I was, as disappointed as I was. I had the backing of the whole country.

“I thought, just go for it – I’m getting a lot braver. I had my redemption today, and I’m walking away this evening as a world finalist, I couldn’t ask for more than that.”

The men’s 4x400m relay saw the Belgium snatch gold on the line, Alexander Doom adding to his individual gold by running down the USA on the line. Armand Duplantis from Sweden survived a few anxious jumps to win another pole vault title.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics