Ex-Cats

Former Kentucky star Harrison ‘used my defeats’ as motivation and won gold at worlds

Gold medalist Kendra Harrison of the United States celebrated her win in the women’s 60-meters hurdles at the world championships.
Gold medalist Kendra Harrison of the United States celebrated her win in the women’s 60-meters hurdles at the world championships. AP

Former University of Kentucky hurdles star Kendra Harrison turned in another record-breaking performance, and this time it earned her her first gold medal at a world championships.

Harrison tied the American record and broke the meet record by winning the women’s 60-meter hurdles in 7.70 seconds Saturday in Birmingham, England.

Christina Manning followed closely in 7.79 and made it a 1-2 finish in the event for the Americans.

“It feels amazing to finally get out there and get the job done, to get the gold I have been working so hard for,” said Harrison, who was eighth at these championships two years ago. “I came confident and had a good feeling. As soon as I pushed out of the blocks I felt great and just kept on going.”

Harrison had previously held the American record in the 60-meter hurdles before Sharika Nelvis, fourth in Saturday’s race, passed her up with a 7.70 at the U.S. Indoors last month. Harrison finished second at that meet in 7.72.

Harrison still holds the world record in the 100-meter hurdles at 12.20 seconds, which she ran at the London Diamond League event in July 2016.

She now ranks No. 3 all-time in the 60-meter hurdles. And she put some of her past disappointments, including missing out on the 2016 Olympics, behind her.

“My No. 1 goal was just to come across that line first,” Harrison said. “Coach (Kentucky’s Edrick Floreal) told me to just worry about my first three steps and that’ll set up my race. That’s the only thing that was really going through my mind. He believed in me since day one. I used my defeats. Just put all those together and just came out here and got the job done.”

Britain Athletics Indoor Worlds (2)
From left, United States silver-medalist Christina Manning, United States gold-medalist Kendra Harrison and Netherlands bronze-medalist Nadine Visser competed in the women’s 60-meter hurdles finals at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Britain, on Saturday. Alastair Grant AP

Other highlights

When you get a phone call from former sprint king Maurice Greene straight after setting another record, you know you’ve done something special.

Christian Coleman added the championship record to his growing list of achievements in winning the 60 meters Saturday.

Coleman smashed Greene’s 20-year-old world record last month by clocking 6.34 seconds and the American came within 0.03 seconds of that at Arena Birmingham.

“Just to have my name up there with those kind of guys is a huge honor,” Coleman said. “Maurice is someone I can call a friend now and that’s great for me.”

Coleman, who turns 22 on Tuesday, never looked in danger as he beat Su Bingtian of China by 0.05 and U.S. teammate Ronnie Baker by 0.07. He said the gold medal meant more to him than the world record.

Other world indoors records Saturday inlcuded American Sandi Morris in the pole vault, and New Zealand’s Tomas Walsh in the shot put.

The oldest record in the world indoors book fell when Walsh’s last hurl of 22.31 meters eclipsed the record of 22.24 set by Ulf Timmermann in 1987, five years before the New Zealander was born.

Dennis Varney: 859-231-3514, @ExCats

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Britain Athletics Indoor Worlds (5)
Gold medalist Kendra Harrison, left, and bronze medalist Nadine Visser, right, crossed the finish line in the women’s 60-meter hurdles at the world championships. Matt Dunham AP

Britain Athletics Indoor Worlds
From left, United States silver-medalist Christina Manning, United States gold-medalist Kendra Harrison and Netherlands bronze-medalist Nadine Visser competed in the women’s 60-meter hurdles finals at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Britain, on Saturday. Alastair Grant AP

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