16 SEP 2006 General News In one of the most anticipated match

Women's 400m Hurdles

In one of the most anticipated matchups of the day, World champion Yuliya (Pechonkina) Nosova produced a late race rally to defeat American Lashinda Demus for the second time in as many races this year and to become the first 2002 winner to successfully defend.

Despite running from the confines of lane 1, Demus, this year’s fastest, nonetheless built a small lead midway down the backstretch, and held it off the final bend. But faltering slightly as she approached the ninth hurdle, the American lost her rhythm, where Nosova was ready to capitalize. The Russian grabbed the lead off that penultimate hurdle, and powered towards and over the final one en route to her 53.88 win, the first one the day for the solid Russian squad, well clear of Demus’s 54.06.

“It was really a difficult victory,” said Nosova, whose season was limited to just one race prior to Athens due to injury in May. “I’m short of training and short of competition too.”

For her part, Demus was disappointed, but refused to blame her lane assignment. “It was a very slow race for me, but I can’t blame the first lane. Everybody runs the same distance.

Poland’s Anna Jesien, just sixth at the European Championships last month, notched a season’s best 54.48 to finish third ahead of Gothenburg bronze medallist Tatyana Tereshchuk-Antipova. 54.55.

Bob Ramsak