By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
Kyron McMaster won the International Association of Athletics Federations Diamond League 400m Hurdles final on Thursday and Zurich, Switzerland, then ended his season on Tuesday with a second place finish in the IAAF World Challenge Zagreb meeting in Croatia.
Prior to the Diamond League race, McMaster who was disqualified during the preliminary rounds of the IAAF World Championships in London in early August, said his next 400m Hurdles race would be “his World Championships” as he expected to meet the top competitors from that final.
McMaster got his chance last when he beat Norway’s Karsten Warholm who won the World Championships, getting to the line in 48.07 seconds, the second fastest time of his career.
Warholm was second in a personal best and Norwegian national record of 48.22 seconds. McMaster also avenged a loss to the USA’s Kerron Clement—third at Worlds—who beat him in the London Diamond League matchup in July, finished fourth. Turkey’s Yasmani Capello, second at Worlds, placed fifth.
McMaster who became the BVI’s first Diamond League event winner, wasn’t confirmed in a lane until three days before the event, then left his England training base for Switzerland.
“Basically, I wanted to focus on executing and getting the win. I wasn’t focusing on time 100% but for me, it was getting the W,” he said. “I knew once I got the W, the time would have come.”
As the World champ was two lanes outside, who has a similar aggressive running style as his, he said it was basically to run his race and continue what he had been doing all season as there was no reason for him to panic and change his race strategy.
“I just kept focused, kept the body low on excitement, stay calm and keep in the vision,” he explained. “This was technically a better race, but I have a blurred memory of the race. Based on the video I watched, going home I executed pretty well. I’d told everyone that if I got into the race, I would act as if it was my World Championships because I got disqualified. Why this was so important to me is because I got disqualified in the heats. We had the gold, bronze and silver medalist in this race, so it was just to show the media and everyone that doubted me or the prediction that came out, to show them anything is possible and I felt good to get the W.”
On Tuesday, McMaster finished second behind Qatar’s Abderrahaman Samba, who was timed in 48.70 seconds. McMaster who took over the world lead in the event from Samba’s 48.31 seconds on May 20 with his 47.80 time at the IWC Jamaica International, finished in 49.49 seconds. Samba was seventh in the IAAF World Championships in London on Aug 9, while McMaster was disqualified in the preliminary rounds.
“The race was on target for the first 250m,” noted coach Dag Samuels. “We did some things to enhance that aspect of the race and it worked. The end result could have been better but most importantly, he came out injury free.”
Reflecting on his year, McMaster said awesome isn’t even the word to describe his season as some people would think their season could be better.
“I elevated to a level that I’ve never been at before,” he noted. “I’ve seen and conversated with people I’ve never converasted with in my life, so win or lose this event, I’m still content with my season and I would never forget this moment, even if I’d lost (today) it would have been devastating, but the I would have looked back on it that I was here and lots of people don’t get here. So my season was great overall.”