This was supposed to be a family affair for Tiffany Porter and Cindy Ofili, two sisters side by side bidding for a medal, but it ended with one sibling sitting in the stands, the other somersaulting dramatically over the finishing line of the 100m hurdles.
Porter had arrived in Beijing ranked fifth in the world but with two of the quicker women, Jasmin Stowers and Queen Harrison, missing after failing to qualify from the US trials.
When Dawn Harper Nelson fell in her semi-final and Kendra Harrison was disqualified for a false start in the semi-finals, her path to a second world medal of her career opened up.
Porter and Ofili had talked about the prospect of being in the call room before the final but Ofili, seemingly off her stride in China at a first major championships, failed to qualify for the evening’s finale after finishing last in her semi-final.
With hurdlers falling left, right and centre, the medals looked set to be decided by the last woman standing but an event billed as the American hurdlers against the American-born Britons was turned on its head.
Porter, combative as ever out of the blocks, took her usual aggressive approach but technically was not as strong on the final two hurdles and lost her footing, tumbling at some speed on to the track, all in front of the gaze of her sister.
Instead it was a surprise gold medal for Jamaica’s Danielle Williams in a personal best 12.57 seconds while Germany’s Cindy Roleder won silver, and the bronze went to Alina Talay, of Belarus, with just 11 hundredths separating the top five in what has become a trademark blanket finish this season.
Porter, who works as a pharmacist in the off-season, was unhurt and afterwards said: “I’m fine, it was a tough fall but I’m ok. I’m going to have to go back and look at the race as I think I was in a good position but I just didn’t really execute my last couple of hurdles and that’s what happens in terms of athletics.
“It wasn’t a good race, I made a lot of mistakes. I’m just really disappointed. I’m just going to grow from this, you have to brush yourself off and do better next time, and I will be back next year stronger.”Reuse content