LaShawn Merritt in the mens 400m Final at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Preview Marrakech, Morocco

Preview: men's 400m – IAAF Continental Cup, Marrakech 2014

Five of the world’s seven fastest quarter-milers in 2014 are in the field. LaShawn Merritt is the quickest of those, with 43.92, and the 28-year-old US sprinter – the 2008 Olympic champion, two-time world champion and winner of the 2014 Diamond Race – will start as the man to beat.

However, Isaac Makwala can expect to be inspired by returning to the scene of his African Championships victory last month. The Botswanan’s best time of the year, an African record of 44.01, was set in the Swiss city of La Chaux-de-Fonds in July – the same afternoon in which he ran a scorching 19.96 for 200m, the fastest-ever one-day double at the two distances.

Makwala is partnered on the Africa team by Wayde van Niekerk, who finished runner-up to him in the continent’s championships in the Great Stadium in Marrakech. The South African also won the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, in the wake of Olympic champion Kirani James.

Merritt’s Americas team-mate is Luguellin Santos, the 20-year-old Olympic silver medallist and world bronze medallist from the Dominican Republic. The field also includes European champion Martyn Rooney of Great Britain.

Simon Turnbull for the IAAF