They say very few things are sweeter than redemption and Damion Thomas is tasting the sweet taste right now after winning the Boys 110m hurdles at the IAAF World U20 Athletics Championships in Tampere, Finland.
Thomas stormed to victory in 13.16 seconds to lead a Jamaican 1,2 ahead of Orlando Bennett (13.33).
The LSU freshman did not get the best of starts but had his usual fast and determined finish to become the first Jamaican to win a World U20 110m hurdles title.
It is sweet redemption for Thomas, who crashed out at the semi-final stage as the world leader and favourite at the last championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland two years ago.
“Redemption is sweet and I am blessed that my time has finally come,” he said in an interview with Sports At Your Fingertips after the race.
The World U20 record holder had a more even race than his semifinal run that appeared a bit nervy which he admitted was.
“The semi-final warmup was a bit mental. I couldn’t get a rhythm on my drills and I knew it was lingering thoughts from 2016. I just had to trust God and buckle down on the now and whats really important,” he said.
— IAAF (@iaaforg) July 12, 2018
But after getting over that semifinal mental hurdle, the NCAA Outdoor Championships bronze medalist was quite confident he would accomplish what he set his sights squarely on from the beginning of this season.
“I didn’t feel any pressure going into the final. I knew if I executed my race and stayed in my lane the race would be mine,” said a confident Thomas.
The title caps off a brilliant season for the US-born 18 year old Jamaican.
Before his World U20 tieing run (12.99) to win the Jamaican national title, he became a two-time First Team All-American and the second-fastest hurdler in LSU history (13.44) during his rookie collegiate season. He won Outdoor Nationals bronze (110m hurdles), SEC (Southeastern Conference) indoor (60m hurdles) and outdoor bronze as well as reaching the NCAA Indoor Championships finals.
Thomas also earned several honours for his efforts – he was named SEC Freshman Runner of the Year (Indoors) as selected by the league’s head coaches and was named SEC Freshman of Week multiple times.
*Photo credit: IAAF