10 SEP 2005 General News

Men's 400m Hurdles

Bershawn Jackson of the US managed to break the curse which seemed to affect the recent winners of men’s track events at the IAAF World Championships in Helsinki here in Monaco at the third edition of the World Athletics Final.

Indeed very few of the reigning World champions managed to grab top honours in the last two days with Jackson becoming the first male track World champion to win his event at the Stade Louis II.

The 22-year-old US champion didn’t have an easy ride though as his winning time of 48.05 was only 4 hundredths of a second faster than second place finisher Kemel Thompson of Jamaica. Former World junior champion Louis van Zyl improved his personal best to 48.11 to finish an unexpected third.

The start of the race was delayed as athletes were disturbed by the loud cheer which accompanied Tero Pitkamaki’s excellent throw of 91.33m. When the athletes reset in the blocks, Jackson seemed to have been caught unprepared and his first hurdle clearance was fairly unbalanced. World silver medallist James Carter and Bayano Kamani took advantage of Jackson being in difficulty to open a considerable lead which they kept all the way through to the sixth hurdle.

It is then that Jackson who cleverly did not panic decided to make his move and caught up with Carter and Bayano before moving into the lead.

France’s Olympic bronze medallist was also running well in lane 6 and the home crowd expected his customary finishing kick would make the difference.

However the race would be decided elsewhere as Thompson in lane 1 and Van Zyl in late 8 came up strong off the final hurdle. Jackson had enough left to dominate the run-in but it was only after the photo-finish was examined that the American was announced as the World Athetics Final winner.

LA