Jamaican sprinter Antonio Watson added another gold to Jamaica’s tally by racing to victory in the men’s 400 meters final at the 2023 World Championship in Budapest. Watson crossed the finish line in a time of 44.22 seconds, outpacing Great Britain’s Matthew Hudson-Smith, who secured the second position with a time of 44.31 seconds.
Breaking the 40-Year Drought for Jamaica
Watson’s accomplishment gains profound significance as he etches his name in history as the first Jamaican athlete to secure gold in the men’s 400m event since Bert Cameron’s victory in the inaugural World Athletics Championships held back in 1983.
The race dynamics were intense. Matthew Hudson-Smith, representing Great Britain, initially dominated the first half of the race. Yet, as he neared the finish line, signs of fatigue emerged, leading him to secure the silver medal with a time of 44.31.
Quincy Hall, the 2019 NCAA champion from the United States, executed a late surge to secure the bronze medal. His strong performance pushed him ahead of his compatriot Vernon Norwood. Hall’s achievement came by setting a personal best time of 44.37, edging out Norwood by a mere 0.02 seconds.
No Specific Strategy
In a post-race interview, Watson expressed his commitment to giving his best performance in the race. He stated that he didn’t approach the race with a specific strategy to secure victory. He attributed his success to the valuable guidance provided by his coach, Glen Mills, and highlighted the support and encouragement from his teammate that served as significant factors in his achievement.
In another media interview in July 2023, the former World Youth U18 Champion revealed that at the start of the season he had not initially been geared up for the 400 meters. He explained that the switch to focus on the 400m event occurred midway through the season. Despite this change, he managed to impressively clock a time of 44.5 at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) National Championships held at the National Stadium.
Second Gold for Jamaica
Watson’s victory added another gold to Jamaica’s achievements. This success became the nation’s second gold in the championship. Danielle Williams had won Jamaica’s first gold by being the fastest in the 100 meters hurdles race.