Joseph Fahnbulleh made history at the ongoing world athletics championships on Tuesday after advancing to the final of the men’s 200m.
Fahnbulleh advanced to the final after crossing the finish line in 19.92 seconds, finishing second in heat 1 of the semi-finals. This accomplishment meant that Fahbulleh made history by becoming the first Liberian athlete to advance to an event’s final at the world championships.
Fahnbulleh is making his debut at the championship, but his impressive runs are no surprise, evidenced by his recent performances at national and international events. At the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where Fahnbulleh secured his spot at the world championship, he made history by becoming Liberia’s first-ever Olympics finalist.
He eventually accomplished another historic feat at the 2022 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Men’s Outdoor Championships for the University of Florida Gators by winning both 100m and 200m, making him a double champion at the 2022 NCAA championship.
The top-ranked runner on Monday announced himself at the world championship when he breezed through the first round of the men’s 200m, placing first in his heat. Fahnbulleh, 20, ran in 20.12 to automatically advance to the semifinals. He will now set his sights on clinching Liberia's first-ever medal at the Championships when he returns to the track today (7:50 p.m. PT or Friday July 22 at 2:50 a.m. GMT) in the 200m Final.
Unlike the Olympics 200m final that saw Fahbulleh as the only African, he is one of two Africans that will run in today’s final. South Africa’s Luxolo Adams booked his spot in the final after qualifying as one of the fastest two in the semifinals. The last time an African athlete won a medal in the men’s 200m at the championships was in 2017 when South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk won Silver.