DOHA, Qatar (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Just like he did in June, Anderson Peters stepped onto the javelin runway for his final throw with a championship already in hand. This time it was a world championship.
Mississippi State's two-time national champion led from his very first throw at the IAAF World Championships on Sunday. Peters' first attempt sailed 86.69m (284-5) giving him more than a 2.5-meter lead over Estonia's Magnus Kirt, who entered as the world leader with a season-best of 90.61m (297-3).
That pair, along with German Johannes Vetter, were the only athletes to break the 80.00m (262-5) line on Sunday. Peters had thrown 85.34m (280-0) to finish third in Saturday's qualifying.
Vetter, the reigning world champion, threw his best mark in the second round at 85.37m (280-1). In the same round, Kirt launched the implement 86.21m (282-10), trimming Peters' initial lead to just 48 centimeters.
On his fourth attempt, Peters improved to 86.89m (285-1), which would be enough to claim the gold medal.
"Words cannot explain how happy and proud I am of Anderson Peters right now," associate head coach April Thomas said. "He has checked off one of his goals in life of being a world champion. He has a true gift, and no one can deny it. It could have not happened to a better young man. I tip my hat to him. I'm truly blessed and honored to be his coach."
The podium trio held a commanding lead entering the final two rounds of throws with more than three meters separating Vetter from fourth-place. Kirt, fouled his fifth attempt while injuring his shoulder. He would not be able to return for his final throw.
Vetter fouled his final throw, allowing Peters to step on the runway for his final attempt, knowing he had already won gold for the fourth time this season. Peters also won the SEC, NCAA and Pan American Games titles before making his final attempt in those competitions.
The St. Andrews, Grenada, native is just the second world champion from the island in any event and just the third medalist in Grenada's history. He is the first athlete from the Americas to win the world championship in the javelin. Trinidad and Tobago's Keshorn Walcott won gold at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
"I didn't think 86 meters would be enough to win gold," Peters said. "I was up against 90-meter men throwing high 88's all season. I just believed in my coach and the work we did all season and eventually I became world champion. I want to tell my fellow Grenadians that everybody can do it if I can do it. It's possible for everybody to become a world champion. You just have to want it as badly as I do."
Prior to Peters, Grenada's best finish in the javelin at the World Championships was 18th place by Trevor Modeste in 1983.
"I'm so happy to see all the hard work that that kid put in pays off, and it pays off on this stage," head coach Chris Woods said. "He's one of the most humble kids, one of the hardest-working kids I've ever met. He's very well-deserving of this title. I see the work he puts in day-in and day-out at the track. What an amazing accomplishment. It's outstanding."
Peters joins Florida's Grant Holloway (110m hurdles) as the only other 2019 NCAA Division I national champion to claim the world title in the same event this year.
He has extended his winning streak to 10 consecutive meets and has won 16 of 20 meets since he began competing collegiately. He has never finished a meet off the podium.