Aug. 2 2021 By Michael Dorgan
A Queens woman is one of the favorites to win a gold medal for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics Tuesday.
Dalilah Muhammad, who is originally from Jamaica, Queens, will compete in the women’s 400-meter hurdle final on Aug. 3 at 10:30 p.m. EST after comfortably winning her semi-final race Monday.
Muhammad clocked a time of 53.30 seconds at a rain-soaked Japan National Stadium, bettering her time of 54.97 in round 1 Friday.
The 31-year-old is the reigning champion of the event having crossed the finish line in first place at the 2016 Rio Olympics. She is the only American to have ever won Olympic gold in the event.
In 2019, the decorated athlete won gold at the world championships in Doha, Qatar, and also smashed the then 400-meter hurdle world record. In her amateur days, Muhammad won titles at state and national levels while attending Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside.
Don’t RAIN on Dalilah’s parade! ☔️@TeamUSA‘s Dalilah Muhammad leads the way in the first semis of the women’s 400m hurdles. #TokyoOlympics
📱 NBC Sports App pic.twitter.com/UEQeX9FgV7
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 2, 2021
Muhammad’s quest to defend her Olympic crown has been besieged with setbacks. She suffered a hamstring injury earlier this year and she was also struck down with COVID-19 twice.
In the meantime, fellow Team USA member Sydney McLaughlin has been setting the division alight and emphatically beat Muhammad at the 400-meter Olympic hurdles trials in June – registering a new world record time of 51.90 in the process.
McLaughlin, 21, from New Jersey, won her Olympic semi-final Monday with a time of 53.03 seconds, marginally quicker than Muhammad. McLaughlin finished 14th in the event five years ago when she was just 16 years of age.
The pair will now battle it out for supremacy in a highly anticipated clash Tuesday. The race will be aired live on NBC.
Current world record holder @GoSydGo didn’t let any rain hold her back from making the Women’s 400m Hurdles final.
Watch her 53.03 semi win! #TeamUSATF pic.twitter.com/c98C3csPKy
— USATF (@usatf) August 2, 2021