Hurdler Anna Maria Millend takes silver in U-20 championships in Kenya
Hurdler Anna Maria Millend took silver in the Under-20s World Championship Finals in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday, setting both a new personal best over 100 meters, and an Estonian junior record in the process.
Millend, 17, broke her own 100 meter hurdles' record in the semi-finals Friday with a time of 13.56, going on to supersede that with a time of 13.44 in the second semi-finals heat.
Millend's previous personal best in the 100 meter hurdles had been 14.26, which she posted last summer.
In the final, held at 4 p.m. Estonian time Saturday, Millend finished second, putting in a time of 13.55.
"I didn't understand anything, I can't even describe the feelings. I was very, very surprised. It hasn't sunk in so far," Millend told ERR after the race.
Of her incremental progress in times just over the couple of days in the competition, Millend said that: "I knew I could improve my time by about 20 hundredths-of-a-second."
"I couldn't have even dreamed of reaching the finals and getting a medal," she went on.
Preparation had been key, Millend said.
"The fact that I was able to compete in the European Championships for the first time helped to cope with my nerves. It was already much easier with that here," she went on.
Millend found herself in an outer lane in the final, which at first she did not think was a good thing.
"Initially I thought it was bad that I was put in the side lane, meaning I have to run there alone, but if I think about it now, I was very lucky," she added, referring to three of her competitors' falls which saw them disqualified and which may have been more distracting if she had been in the thick of it.
"I realized a little bit that something was going on there [with the falls], but I couldn't really do much, so I was able to perform well," she said.
Millend's 13.45 put her behind only Ackera Nugent of Jamaica, who bagged gold with a time of 12.95.
Only four hurdlers finished – in addition to the three fallers, a false start was posted.
Millend joins Pippi Lotta Enok in getting a silver for Estonia. Enok did so in the heptathlon on Thursday, her own birthday and one day before Restoration of Independence day.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte