Julien Alfred makes history for St Lucia at World Indoors Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The two big favourites for the title ended up taking the top two spots in the women’s 60m final at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on Saturday.

While Poland’s 26-year-old Ewa Swoboda had been the fastest in the heats and semifinals, St Lucia’s Julien Alfred shone when it mattered most, clocking a season’s best of 6.98 to equal Swoboda’s world lead from the semifinals.

But there was unfortunate drama before the final even got underway as US champion Aleia Hobbs – the second-fastest woman in history at this distance – picked up what looked to be a calf injury on the startline, just moments before the gun sounded.

She tried her best to stretch it out, but ultimately she had to surrender to the pain and was stretchered off the track, leaving just seven starters.

Julien Alfred, of St Lucia, crosses the finish line ahead of second placed Ewa Swoboda, of Poland.

Once the gun fired, Swoboda was out fastest and held a slight edge over Alfred, Italy’s Zaynab Dosso, and New Zealand’s Zoe Hobbs.

Swoboda held her form well, but so too did Alfred, who was a picture of composure as she charged through the closing stages to win in 6.98.

Swoboda crossed the line in 7.00 to take silver, her first-ever senior global medal, and Dosso took bronze in 7.05, finishing 0.01 ahead of Hobbs, who set an Oceanian record of 7.06 in fourth.

USA’s Mikiah Brisco, silver medallist in Belgrade two years ago, this time finished fifth in 7.08. Belgium’s Rani Rosius was sixth (7.14) and Patrizia van der Weken was seventh in 7.15, becoming Luxembourg’s highest-ever finisher in a women’s event at a senior global championships.

Before these championships, St Lucia had never had a medallist at a senior global championship. Now the tiny Caribbean nation has a global champion.