WC Men’s 110 Hurdles — Holloway From Gun To Tape

While Grant Holloway was scooting away to the gold medal, Orlando Ortega & Omar McLeod were having a clash with major consequences. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

GRANT HOLLOWAY’S brief partial season as a professional athlete went pretty well. He’s world champion. Almost 4 months since he won the NCAA title in what still stands as the year’s fastest time, 12.98, this wry and entertaining 21-year-old secured himself another gold with an exuberant, unstoppable WC performance. Leading from the gun, he won at 13.10 and cavorted onwards as if he was planning to complete a full lap before halting, suddenly tearful, on the backstretch. It has been a long and emotional season for the newly established champion.

Jamaica’s reigning world/Olympic champion Omar McLeod, trying to get back on terms with his taller opponent, hit hurdles 8, 9 and then, terminally, 10, losing control and spinning to the ground. That had other spin-offs, as he forced DL champion Orlando Ortega, who was clearly in the running for a medal, out of his lane as he took evasive action and ended up 5th at 13.30. In the end it was Russian Sergey Shubenkov, the ’15 gold medalist and ’17 silver medalist, who chased the new arrival home, adding another silver to his collection in 13.15 ahead of France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, who took bronze in 13.18.

“I am speechless,” said Holloway. Inaccurately. “It’s my first major championships and a lot of people were counting me out because I’ve been off my game in the last month or so. But when you have motivation you never lose. I kept believing in myself; I kept focused and I stayed healthy. I came here to win every round and that’s what I did. When you step on the line no one cares what you have done before—it’s all about the here and now. I just took it one hurdle and one race at a time and tried to stay calm.”
That resolve went gloriously haywire in the moment of victory however.

Holloway had arrived here with a collegiate rival whom he had beaten to the NCAA title in June, and who had subsequently beaten him at the US Trials, Daniel Roberts.
The latter had won the Paris DL, where Holloway finished 6th in his Diamond League debut, but here the fortunes tipped again as Roberts was disqualified for knocking down the hurdle of a neighboring athlete in the opening heat.

McLeod, who has been working in Europe with US coach Rana Reider, had been fastest qualifier in the semis (13.08). The Jamaican reported afterwards that he had felt a problem early on in the final, and apologized to Ortega for careening into his path. McLeod explained, “I felt my hamstring as I came off the first hurdle, so then I was thinking about it, not my technique. It grabbed me again halfway through, but I gave it my all. I made a lot of sacrifices this season to get here. I showed up ready and had heart. I’m in a new situation with a new coach. I just need to regroup and come back for next year.”

As for Ortega’s ultimate fate, apparently Spain lobbied for a rerun, but that idea was scotched. The IAAF, in a groundbreaking decision, instead decided to award him a bronze to go with the one earned by Martinot-Lagarde.



(October 02; wind +0.6) (temperature 79F/26C; humidity 59%)

1. Grant Holloway (US) 13.10;

2. Sergey Shubenkov (Rus) 13.15;

3. Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (Fra) 13.18;

4. Wenjun Xie (Chn) 13.29;

5. Orlando Ortega (Spa) 13.30 (also awarded a bronze medal because of McLeod obstruction);

6. Shane Brathwaite (Bar) 13.61;

7. Devon Allen (US) 13.70;

8. Milan Trajkovic (Cyp) 13.87;

… dq—Omar McLeod (Jam)

Lanes: 1. Brathwaite; 2. Xie; 3. Allen; 4. McLeod; 5. Ortega; 6. Holloway; 7. Martinot-Lagarde; 8. Trajkovic; 9. Shubenkov

Reaction times: 0.124 Allen; 0.128 McLeod; 0.130 Ortega; 0.140 Xie; 0.149 Brathwaite; 0.150 Shubenkov & Trajkovic; 0.158 Holloway; 0.161 Martinot-Lagarde


(September 30)

I(0.2)–1. McLeod 13.17; 2. Trajkovic 13.37; 3. Antonio Alkana (SA) 13.41; 4. Allen 13.46; 5. Hassane Fofana (Ita) 13.49; 6. Nicholas Hough (Aus) 13.60;

7. Vitali Parakhonka (Blr) 13.65;… dq[intentionally knocking down hurdle]—Gabriel Constantino (Bra).

II(0.5)–1. Shubenkov 13.27; 2. Xie 13.38; 3. Jason Joseph (Swi) 13.39; 4. Brathwaite 13.51;

5. Valdó Szűcs (Hun) 13.60; 6. Elmo Lakka (Fin) 13.73; 7. Taio Kanai (Jpn) 13.74; 8. Eduardo Rodrigues (Bra) 13.92.

III(-0.4)–1. Martinot-Lagarde 13.45; 2. Andy Pozzi (GB) 13.53; 3. Andrew Riley (Jam) 13.67; 4. Yohan Chaverra (PR) 13.76;

5. Ruan de Vries (SA) 14.07;… dq[knocking a hurdle in another lane—Daniel Roberts (US);… fs—Jeffrey Julmis (Hai).

IV(0.4)–1. Holloway 13.22; 2. Shun-ya Takayama (Jpn) 13.32; 3. Konstadínos Douvalídis (Gre) 13.43; 4. Yaqoub Al-Yoha (Kuw) 13.43; 5. Orlando Bennett (Jam) 13.50; 6. Dimitri Bascou (Fra) 13.53;

7. Xaysa Anousone (Lao) 14.54; 8. Fadane Hamadi (Com) 14.79.

V(-0.5)–1. Ortega 13.15; 2. Ronald Levy (Jam) 13.48; 3. Kuei-Ju Chen (Tai) 13.57; 4. Wilhem Belocian (Fra) 13.67;

5. Jianhang Zeng (Chn) 13.68; 6. Lorenzo Perini (Ita) 13.70; 7. Louis François Mendy (Sen) 13.75; 8. Roger V. Iribarne (Cub) 14.37.


(October 02)

I(1.1)–1. Holloway 13.10; 2. Shubenkov 13.18;

3. Bascou 13.48; 4. Al-Yoha 13.57; 5. Pozzi 13.60; 6. Bennett 13.60; 7. Levy 13.60 (originally DQed); 8. Brathwaite 14.29 (advanced on appeal).

II(0.9)–1. McLeod 13.08; 2. Martinot-Lagarde 13.12; 3. Xie 13.22; 4. Allen 13.36;

5. Chen 13.52; 6. Fofana 13.52; 7. Joseph 13.53; 8. Chaverra 13.76.

III(0.6)–1. Ortega 13.16; 2. Trajkovic 13.29;

3. Alkana 13.47; 4. Douvalídis 13.54; 5. Riley 13.57; 6. Takayama 13.58; 7. Belocian 13.60; 8. Hough 13.61. ◻︎