Cayman Islands’ prodigy Jamal Walton became the second high school athlete to ever go sub-45 seconds in the 400 meters when he ran 44.99 seconds to win gold in the event at the Pan American U20 Junior Championships in Trujillo, Peru.
The US based 18-year-old won the gold in a world leading (U-20) 44.99 seconds smashing Obea Moore’s 22-year-old Pan Am Junior record (45.17).
The mark is also a national record and a massive improvement on his previous personal best of 45.70 set at the Florida High School Athletic Association Region 4A-4 Championships in April of this year.
The mark also ranks No. 2 on the US High School all-time list and is a junior class record, besting the former mark of 45.17 seconds.
Walton edged American Josephus Lyles, who is a professional athlete signed to Adidas. The IAAF World Youth silver medalist’s new personal best of 45.03 was not enough as Walton turned the tables on Lyles, who finished ahead of him (4th) at the 2015 IAAF World Youth Championships.
The Miramar High School senior was a distant runner-up (46.46) to Jamaica’s Christopher Taylor (45.97) at the CARIFTA Games in April, but he is the one booking his place to London as he surpassed the IAAF World Championships qualifying mark of 45.50.
Jamaica’s Anthony Carpenter finished outside the medals in 4th (46.92) while Trinidad & Tobago’s Judah Taylor was 6th in 47.72.