Gibson advances to the semis of the 400m hurdles
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Aug 13, 2013
MOSCOW, Russia – If someone had told Jeffery Gibson at the beginning of the season that he’d be running in the semi-finals in the biggest meet in the world for athletics with a shot of getting into the final, I’m certain he would take it under any conditions.
A magical season continues for The Bahamas’ top long hurdler as he advanced to the semis in the 400-meter (m) hurdles at these 14th International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships here in Moscow, Russia.
Running from lane one, Gibson turned in a time of 50.25 seconds yesterday morning to finish fourth in his opening round heat, and qualify for the semis. He had the 26th fastest time, but moved on to the semis as one of the four automatic qualifiers out of his heat. The top four finishers in each heat and the next four fastest times advanced to tonight’s semis.
He said that he was happy that he advanced, but there are some things in his technique that he would like to correct in time for the semis. He will run out of lane one in heat three of the semis this evening.
“It was okay, but I feel like I could have done so much better,” he said yesterday. “At the beginning of the race, I was pumping a little too hard. I think I kind of came out of the flow of things, with it being such a huge event, but I’m sure that going into the semis, I’ll be much more prepared.”
Mamadou Kasse Hanne, of Senegal, took Gibson’s heat, in 49.33 seconds, Jamaican Leford Green finished second in 49.45 seconds, and American Bershawn ‘Batman’ Jackson was third in 49.76 seconds.
As for fourth place finisher Gibson became just the second Bahamian to ever qualify for the world championships in the long hurdles this year, joining Greg Rolle who accomplished the feat at the inaugural championships in Helsinki, Finland, in 1983. Coincidentally, he lowered Rolle’s national record in the event this year to 49.39 seconds, thereby erasing one of the longest standing national records in the books.
Gibson ran that new national record at the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Championships when he finished fifth in the final and qualified for the world championships in the process.
“I’m definitely going to have to run a personal best. This is the world championships so you have to bring your best. Right now, I’m just happy to be here,” he said. “I have to thank God first of all, and my coach and family and friends.”
Gibson has had a tremendous season, and making it to the semis at the biggest athletics meet in the world is icing on the cake. He will be a long shot to make it to the final, but even if he doesn’t, he certainly can’t complain with the season he’s had.
In a year in which he became just the second Bahamian to ever run under 50 seconds in the long hurdles, the second Bahamian to ever qualify for the world championships in the event, and the new national record holder, Gibson said he’s just happy to be making progress, and is looking forward to wonderful things in the future. So far, he said he’s just having fun in the city.
“It’s a lovely city. I would have never expected Moscow to look like this. I was expecting fur coats, snow and lil beanies, but I’m having a great time so far,” he said.
Gibson said he’s certainly looking to run a new personal best time in the semis. He will probably have to if he has any intention of making it through to the final on Thursday night.