The 23-year-old Holloway was the strong favourite but Parchment came on strong in the final stages to win his first global title and justify his selection over the previous Olympic champion Omar McLeod
Grant Holloway had been undefeated for 24 races in a row but lost the one that means most as Jamaica’s Hansle Parchment roared back at the American to snatch men’s Olympic 110m hurdles gold.
The 23-year-old Holloway was the strong favourite having won gold at the World Championships and broken Colin Jackson’s long-standing 60m indoor world record earlier this year, as well as getting within one hundredth of a second of Aries Merritt’s 12.80 sec world record at the US trials.
But in the closing stages in Tokyo he began to lose momentum and Parchment took full advantage, and after the 31-year-old won bronze at London 2012 he finally secured his first major title. Parchment won in his season’s best of 13.04 sec as Holloway took silver in 13.09 and another Jamaican, Ronald Levy, won bronze in 13.10.
“No one is expecting me to take the win, everyone is watching [Holloway] so the pressure is over there, so I could be more relaxed,” Parchment said, having been a controversial selection for the Games ahead of the reigning Olympic champion Omar McLeod. “Whether the focus is on me, I wouldn’t have worried about that, I’m just running through my head what I need to do.
“I got injured earlier this year, I did quite a bit of swimming, a lot of hard work. It was a long season, I was in the pool maybe two months unable to really put the foot down. But I think that really helped, so now I want swimming in my regular programme because it helped so much.”
Britain’s Andrew Pozzi finished seventh in 13.30 after a difficult year struggling with yet more injuries. Last year Pozzi ran twice ran 13.14 in the Diamond League, and at his best could have been in contention for a medal, but the delayed Games worked against him.
“Unfortunately I didn’t quite have the race that I wanted. Just didn’t quite have enough today and it’s difficult to say but that’s just the situation… I gave it my best.
“I’ve worked really hard in order to be here and try be in my best shape, but that’s all I had today. I arrived in a good place. There’s no excuses unfortunately. I just didn’t have enough and that’s just the way it is. I prepared really well, worked really hard with an amazing group of people who have supported me so much and I’m just very grateful for everyone that’s given me the opportunity to come out here and give it my best.”