Cayman sprinter Jamal Walton will compete alongside Usain Bolt and dozens of other world-class athletes this weekend when he participates in the 2017 IAAF Athletics Championships at the U.K.’s London Stadium.
The 18-year-old Walton, who attends school in the U.S., is coming off a record-setting performance at the Pan American Junior Championships on July 22, running the 400 meter in a personal best 44.99. That marked only the second time that a U.S. high school student broke the 45-second barrier in the event, and crushed Obea Moore’s 22-year-old Pan Am Junior record.
“It was exciting,” said Walton of the run, which beat the 45.05-second qualifying time for the Olympics. “I didn’t know I was going to run under 45.00 or actually break a record.”
The competition Walton will face this weekend will be a cut above those he raced last month. More than 400 runners at the event include the U.S.’s LaShawn Merritt, Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, and South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk – all who have broken the 44-second mark in the event.
The 400-meter event kicks off tomorrow, with the semifinals taking place on Sunday, and the finals on Tuesday.
Walton’s teammate, sprinter Kemar Hyman, will reportedly miss the event with a pulled hamstring.