After a great run, Balázs Baji came in third on the 110 metres hurdles on the 2017 World Championships in Athletics in London, reports index.hu. This time the Hungarian athlete started the race very well, at around half the distance he was only fourth-fifth, but he jumped over the last hurdle in a very good rhythm. His last 10 metres were great, thus he got to the third place. He ran in with 13.28. Only the Olympic champion Omar McLeod and the former world champion, the Russian Sergey Shubenkov came before him. Baji won the 12th Hungarian medal on world championships in athletics.
I can hardly believe it happened. The bronze medal is so much more than what I expected. The end was not so fast, but it was a big moment for me. A dream came true. I was in really good shape. I knew I could be ahead. I only needed to go smoother, and it worked. I felt I had the chance to be in the first three. I thought I was close to them. After the race I sat down, looked around in the stadium and thought: how perfect it was! – Baji said after the race.
His bronze medal is also an outstanding achievement in the history of Hungarian athletics. A sprinter has never won any medal and never got to the finals. It was Baji’s fourth world championship, but he has never got to the finals. He could not even go further than the qualifying round in 2011. In 2013 he already got to the semi-final, but he could not repeat it two years later and stayed in the qualifying round again.
The Hungarian athlete showed mature racing during the whole world championship, he got over the qualifying round confidently. Only the Olympic champion Omar McLeod came before Baji, who was sparing his energy in the end. In the semi-final, he needed the first or second place to get into the final eight, and he managed to do it better than expected: after a really good start, he was running ahead of everybody, even Aries Merritt – the Olympic champion of 2012.
Baji – who is a vet besides his sports career – built up the whole season very successfully. Even at the beginning of the open-air season, he ran a new national record with 13.24, and he ran even faster with 0.01 second at the end of June in Ostrava. After all these, he changed this record to 13.15 at the beginning of July at the Memorial in Gyula.
The world could notice his face five years ago in the London stadium as well. In the qualifying run, where a lot of athletes cannot go further, he raised the hand of Liu Xiang, the Chinese world star who got injured because he was sorry that such a great champion had to leave the race like that. He got fair play award for this in Hungary.
Featured image: facebook / Minden ami mozi