BUDAPEST, Hungary – Devynne Charlton is once again into the final of a major athletics championships, extending her streak to four straight and five of the last six, indoors and outdoors. Outdoors, it’s her third straight appearance in the women’s 100 meters (m) hurdles, counting the 2021 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Eugene World Championships.
On Wednesday, the Bahamian short hurdles technician had to come from behind to fly past two athletes and book her ticket into the women’s 100m hurdles final at the 19th World Athletics Championships at the National Athletics Stadium in Budapest, Hungary.
Charlton clocked 12.49 seconds – her second-fastest time of the season and third-fastest of her career, trailing just the national record setting run of 12.44 seconds she had in the heats of that event here in Budapest and the former national record of 12.46 seconds at last year’s world championships.
She saves her best for the world’s biggest stage and it was no different on Wednesday,
“I felt that the start was good but could have been better. I didn’t execute as well as I did yesterday (heats), but the fact that I still almost ran the same time is a good sign,” she said. “Once I clean this race up a l’il bit, tomorrow should be better. (Coming back in the race the way I did) shows that under pressure, I could dig down and find something. Coming down to the end, I was just trying to hold on and I was able to do that. It’s a good feeling.”
Former world record holder Kendra ‘Keni’ Harrison, of the United States, won the heat and qualified for the final with the fastest time, running 12.33 seconds. Charlton ran 12.49 seconds and held off Ditaji Kambundji, of Swizerland, for the second automatic qualifying spot out of the first semifinal heat. Kambundji was third in 12.50 seconds but still qualified for the final on time.
Charlton was able to pass Kambundji and Megan Tapper, of Jamaica, in the middle part of the race. Tapper was fourth in that semifinal heat in 12.55 seconds and ended up missing the final.
As for Charlton, she goes into a loaded final tied with the third-fastest time out of the semis. The final features world record holder Tobi Amusan, of Nigeria, former world record holder Harrison, former world champions Nia Ali, of the United States, and Danielle Williams, of Jamaica, and current Olympic Champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, of Puerto Rico.
Also in the final are Kambundji and Ackera Nugent, of Jamaica.
Charlton knows that she has to put the perfect race together in order to have a chance to stand on the medal podium at the end of the day. She is prepared for the challenge.
“I’m going to get back with my coach (Bahamian Rolando ‘Lonnie’ Greene) and see what we did wrong, definitely focus on that and make sure that I have a better race tomorrow,” she said. “I never show up to this type of meet and underestimate the competition. It’s always going to be a deep field; you just have to go out there and do what you need to do.”
The lineup for the final is out and Charlton will run just outside of the middle of the track, in lane six. The final will take place at 9:22 p.m. tonight, 3:22 p.m. back in The Bahamas. As mentioned, it’s her fourth straight global final, indoors and outdoors, and fifth in her last six global meetings. It’s her third straight global final outdoors.
“I think it speaks to my consistency and it also speaks to the training I have in place,” she said. “When it comes time to run big I’m able to put it together and that’s a good feeling.”
On Tuesday, one of The Bahamas’ best hopes for a gold medal Steven Gardiner went down with a grade one strain to a tendon attached to his posterior right thigh in the semifinals of the men’s 400m, and on Wednesday, LaQuan Nairn suffered what appears to be a combination of an ankle and knee injury in the qualifying rounds of the men’s long jump. Charlton said they are bonding together as a team and hoping for the best for Gardiner and Nairn.
“The team is just heart broken for both of them. You hate to see it happen to our own, but it’s something that comes with the sport and comes with the territory. We wish them well and hope that they come back stronger,” she said.
For now, the Bahamian national record holder in the women’s 100m hurdles has another global final to prepare for.
She has a silver medal in the 60m indoors, but hasn’t finished better than sixth in the 100m outdoors. She was sixth at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021 and seventh at the Eugene World Championships in 2022.
Now in the prime of her career at 27, this could very well be the time for Charlton.