By Helene Elliott
5:10 PM EDT, August 15, 2013
USC alumna Dalilah Muhammad won a silver medal in the women’s 400-meter hurdles Thursday at the world track and field championships at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, finishing ahead of training partner Lashinda Demus as American men and women won three of six medals in their respective 400-meter hurdles finals.
Demus, the London Olympic silver medalist in the event, took third behind Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic and Muhammad, who’s from Bayside, N.Y., but trains in Southern California. That was a strong showing for Demus after an injury-marred season. Hajnova passed Demus entering the home stretch and won in 52.83 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year and a considerable margin ahead of Muhammad (54.09) and Demus (54.27).
“I'm just really excited about it. I don't think people really expected me to get on the podium, so to get silver, that is something,” Muhammad told USA Track and Field’s website.
“You know I tried to get out good and hard, but not go out too fast and die at the end. I was really able to run my own race being in lane six. I didn't really have anyone in front of me to push me along. My mom came out to support me, so I'll probably just be celebrating with her tonight.”
Demus said she had been battling hamstring problems as well as muscle tears and pushed herself forward on sheer determination.
“It is a blessing,” she said. “I'm happy for [Muhammad] since it is her first championships. Coming from a long year of injuries, and you name it for me, this is literally a good thing for me. I'm happy that I made it this far.”
In the men’s race, Olympic silver medalist Michael Tinsley of Round Rock, Texas, was edged in the final stride by Jehue Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago. Gordon won the gold in 47.69 seconds, the fastest time in the world this season, and Tinsley took second in a personal-best 47.70 seconds. The third American competitor, Kerron Clement, was eighth in 49.08 seconds.
“At hurdle 10 I just came off and I went to pump, and I thought I may have gotten him,” Tinsley said. “I knew it was close, but I just leaned as hard as I could. It was a great race, I had a personal best tonight. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want to win; I really wanted the gold, but I thank God I was able to come out and compete to my best.”
In other events at the world championships, Jenny Simpson of Boulder, Colo., won silver in the women’s 1,500. Abeba Aregawi of Sweden won in 4 minutes, 2.67 seconds, followed by Simpson (4:02.99) and Hellen Obiri of Kenya third in 4:03.86. Seventeen-year-old phenom Mary Cain of Bronxville, N.Y., was 10th in 4:07.19.
Olympic high jump silver medalist Erik Kynard of Toledo, Ohio, finished fifth in his event. Evan Jager of Portland, Ore., finished fifth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 8:08.67, the third-fastest time recorded by an American and fastest at a world championships.
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