Gardiner’s grandmother’s wooden house was flattened by Hurricane Dorian and his father’s home was also badly damaged, but those painful thoughts were quickly wiped away, as he gushed following his triumph.
“I went through the rounds perfectly,” he said. “I can’t believe I am a world champion. I was born in the Caribbean and everyone did their best (in this race). It feels pretty good.”
“It’s so big to win two medals (the other being fellow quarter-miler Shaunae Miller-Uibo) for the Bahamas after the hurricane. We did it for our country.”
Pan Am Games champion Anthony Jose Zambrano of Colombia lowered his personal best of 44.55 set in the heats to record a South American record of 44.15 for silver.
Fred Kerley, who recorded a time of 43.64 to win the American title in July, had to settle for bronze in 44.17.
Jamaica’s Demish Gaye trimmed 0.09 from his personal best to record 44.46 for fourth, 0.08 clear of Grenada’s former World 400 champion Kirani James, who will draw huge encouragement at his return to the big time.
Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir earned a respectable sixth in 44.94 with Machel Cedenio of Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica’s Akeem Bloomfield, clocking 45.30 and 45.36 respectively, completing the final order.
The 26-year-old Clayton had to settle for third in the women’s 400 hurdles with a personal best time of 53.74 secs, as American Dalilah Muhammad broke her world record to win with a time of 52.16, edging out her compatriot Sydney McLaughlin in a gripping race.
Clayton and other competitors were hardly a factor in the race, as Muhammad dominated, but finished only slightly ahead of silver medallist McLaughlin.
Muhammad had a narrow lead over the first 100 of the race before extending her advantage, as they came through the second bend.
The two Americans opened up a large gap on the rest of the field in the second half of the race and McLaughlin, aged 20, just failed to catch her compatriot, settling for second in 52.23.
The 29-year-old Muhammad, the 2016 Olympic champion, crossed the finish line 0.04 faster than the previous world record she set at the American trials in July in Iowa.
In other results, Jamaica’s men crashed out of the 4×100 relays in the heats, but the women’s advanced to the final.
The Jamaican men, comprising Oshane Bailey, Yohan Blake, Rasheed Dwyer, and Tyquendo Tracey, clocked 38.15 and finished fifth in the first heat and were unable to book one of the two non-automatic spots.
The Jamaican women, anchored by Natasha Morrison and comprising newly-minted World 100 champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Natalliah Whyte and Jonelle Smith, finished in 42.11 to win in the second heat to automatically qualify.