Aug 13, 2009
Wayne David jumping a hurdle (Photo courtesy: VYPE High School Sports Magazine/Wayne Davis)
Wayne Davis set a world junior record this week while competing at the Pan American Junior Championships in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Davis, a 2008 graduate of Southeast Raleigh High School, claimed first place in the 110-meter hurdles at a record-setting 13.08 seconds.
Davis, a rising freshman at Texas A&M, has had plenty of practice getting in the right mindset before a race. After winning the trials in Oregon, Davis knew he had to practice much harder if he hoped to beat the previous record holder, Olympic gold medalist Liu Xiang. Despite the pressure to beat the 13.12 second record Xiang set in 2002, panic was far from Davis’ mind.
“Man, I didn’t get to change into my new uniform,” Davis recalls thinking before starting the race.
Davis’ initial thought after winning the Pan Am Junior Championships was that he had not beaten Xiang’s record. As it turns out, the wind reading machine was incorrect and registered at 2.2 instead of the correct reading of 2.0. Davis was told later that a special announcement was made saying he had set a new record. He is the 10th American to win the Pan American Junior Championships since its conception in 1980.
“I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face,” said Davis when he found out he was the new record-holder.
Ato Boldon, a sports analyst for NBC and former Trinidad and Tobago sprinter, spoke with Davis after the race. Davis says he looks up to Boldon, winner of four Olympic gold medals. Liu Xiang is another inspiration for Davis who says he admired Xiang’s ability to break through the prejudice that an Asian couldn’t be a top contender.
“Learn by example and take their strength and add it to yours,” Davis wants to advise other high school hurdlers. He stresses that hurdlers should study for an event like they would prepare for a test in school.
Davis plans to leave for college Aug. 22. In the meantime, he’s resting before preparing for next year’s goal of beating his own record. Davis’ win is also a new record for 39-inch hurdles and outshines the performance of USA junior record holder Chris Nelloms, who finished in 13.30 seconds in 1990.