EUGENE – Razorback Britton Wilson added another accolade to her spectacular season by advancing to the 400m hurdles final at the World Athletics Championships on Wednesday at Hayward Field.
Wilson will be joined by Arkansas volunteer assistant Shamier Little as the Americans advanced four hurdlers among the eight finalists.
The other two Americans in the final are Sydney McLaughlin, who won the final heat in a leading 52.17, and Delilah Muhammad, who won the first heat in a season best of 53.28.
“It’s my first opportunity here,” said Wilson. “I am excited to grow and learn. It’s really cool to be among other U.S. athletes in the final. We’ll see what happens.”
Wilson ran 53.72 to finish fourth in the second of three semifinal heats while Little placed second in the same heat with a season best of 53.61. Femke Bol of the Netherlands won the heat in 52.84 while Rushell Clayton of Jamaica placed third in 53.63.
Clayton and Wilson claimed the only two spots advancing on time to the final.
From lane 8, Clayton had the fastest start, leading the field at 100m (12.70), 200m (25.07), and 300m (38.72). Bol pulled even with Clayton from lane 3 at the 300m and then cruised to the finish line.
At 300m, Little (39.14) maintained an edge over Wilson (39.55) as they raced in lanes 6 and 5, respectively. Between hurdles 9 and 10, Wilson charged down the home straight and was pulling even with Little.
However, a stutter step at hurdle 10 caused Wilson to adjust her stride. Little cleared the final hurdle without any trouble and was able to pass Clayton by a step at the finish line. Wilson finished a stride behind Clayton for fourth place.
“That was a close finish, and I am very glad I got the big Q,” stated Little of earning an automatic spot in the final. “I think we ran pretty well. I came out here and did what I was supposed to do. I executed a good race. Set it up, brought it home strong, and got in there.
“I have always been watching these girls competing with me in the team on this highest level at these championships. And I was always like – I want to get there, I want to be in that mix.”
Bol had the second fastest time overall with a 52.84 behind McLaughlin’s 52.17.
“I’m happy to make it to my first world championships final,” noted Bol, who placed third in the Tokyo Olympics final last summer. “The race was OK, not super, but exactly what I needed.
“The other girls were pretty close I think, but I was not going full 100 percent so I could push a bit. It was nice they stayed behind me. I still have something left of course. I am ready for a good final.”
The lane assignments for the final, which will be held on Friday evening at 7:50 p.m. (PT), are as follows: (1) Britton Wilson, (2) Rushell Clayton, (3) Shamier Little, (4) Femke Bol, (5) Sydney McLaughlin, (6) Dalilah Muhammad, (7) Gianna Woodruff, (8) Anna Ryzhykova.
Arkansas alum Shafiqua Maloney will race in the first round of the 800m on Thursday. Among the six heats, Maloney will compete in heat 4 from lane 4 as she represents St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Last summer Maloney carried the flag for St. Vincent in the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony.
Also competing on the seventh day of the World Championships is Jah-Nhai Perinchief of Bermuda, who trains in Fayetteville. Perinchief will be in group A as the field of 30 will be trimmed to 12 for the final.
World Championships | Arkansas schedule (PT)
Thursday | July 21
|5:10 pm||W 800m||Heats||Shafiqua Maloney|
|6:20 pm||M Triple Jump||Qualification||Jah Nhai Perinchief|
Friday | July 22
|5:05 pm||M Pole Vault||Qualification||Andrew Irwin|
|6:35 pm||W 800m||Semifinal||(Shafiqua Maloney)|
|7:50 pm||W 400 Hurdles||FINAL||Britton Wilson, Shamier Little|