The men's 400m Hurdles is one of a handful of wide-open events in Berlin, and after round one few questions were answered. If anything, it has become a more difficult event to predict!
[Further UPDATE: 16-Aug, 12:30 CET (GMT + 2) - Following the final review of the Jury of Appeal, Brendan COLE (AUS) has been reinstated. As a consequence Angelo TAYLOR (USA) does not advance to the second round.]
While the USA continues to dominate this event, their four representatives in Berlin suffered mixed fortunes in the first round. Defending champion Kerron Clement looked the best of the Americans, but he was not the only athlete to show promise.
Jamaica's Isa Phillips put together a solid race to win heat one with a time of 48.99. European champion Periklis Iakovakis - who earlier in the season almost decided against competing in Berlin - ran a season's best of 49.12 to finish second, while young gun Johnny Dutch of the USA was third in 49.38. Former World youth Octathlon champion Adres Silva or Uruguay came through strong at the end to set a national record of 49.51, securing a fastest loser spot.
Former world champion Bershawn Jackson ran what seemed like an odd race in heat two, although he explained afterwards that he did not want to strain his muscles too much after recently hurting his hamstring. The American lagged way behind for much of the first half, but on the top bend he moved up a gear and just managed to grab one of the three automatic qualifying spots, finishing second with 49.34. Javier Culson of Puerto Rico won with 49.27, while Japan's Kazuaki Yoshida ran a strong race to clock 49.45 in third. Australia's Triston Thomas was fourth, grabbing the last of the fastest loser spots with his 49.53 clocking.
Clement was the winner of the third heat and was the fastest in the first round with his time of 48.38. He appeared comfortable with the tempo and was able to nail his stride pattern, but the key to winning his second successive world title relies on whether he can do the same when the pace is cranked up in the next two rounds.
Jamaican veteran Danny McFarlane was solid as ever, finishing behind Clement with a time of 48.65, while Jehue Gordon of Trinidad & Tobago ran a world age-17 best of 48.66 to finish third, smashing his country's senior record in the process. Former world champion Felix Sanchez was fourth, but was a clear leader of the fastest loser spots with a season's best of 48.76. Cuba's Omar Cisnero also progressed with his 49.27 in fifth.
David Greene produced a surprise in the fourth and final heat. The Briton looked to have more left in the bag as he strode to victory in 48.76, easily defeating current world leader LJ van Zyl. The South African clocked 49.48 in second, while Australia's Brendan Cole grabbed the third spot in 49.63. Olympic champion Angelo Taylor was just 0.01 behind in fourth, but the tiny time difference meant a great deal as the American's time was not one of the four fastest losers, so he will not progress. Once more, making a World Championship final proves to be elusive for Taylor.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF