Michael Tinsley and Boniface Tumuti in the 400m hurdles heats at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Beijing, China

Report: men's 400m hurdles heats – IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015

In contrast to the qualifying rounds of some other events on the opening day, the men’s 400m hurdles threw up its fair share of shocks and upsets.

It was no surprise to see Kenya winning all three heats of the 3000m steeplechase but the East African nation showed some prowess over less robust barriers when Nicholas Bett and Boniface Tumuti took the first two heats.

Bett, drawn in the unfavoured lane eight, ran his own race before powering away off the last hurdle to win in 48.37, a low-altitude best for the African bronze medallist, proving that his recent time of 48.29 was no fluke.

He also proved to be the fastest man in the heats.

Tumuti won his heat in a personal best of 48.79. In second place, 2013 silver medallist Michael Tinsley also ducked under 49 seconds with 48.91 as the experienced Javier Culson of Puerto Rico and LJ van Zyl of South Africa clinched the two other automatic qualifying places for Sunday’s semi-finals.

However, Trinidad and Tobago’s Jehue Gordon's defence of his world title came to a swift end as he trailed in seventh in 49.91, which was not quick enough to progress as one of the non-automatic qualifiers.

Two-time world champion Kerron Clement took the third heat in 48.75, the best performance from the highly touted US quartet which will just be a trio in the semi-finals following the surprise elimination in the following heat of world leader and 2005 world champion Bershawn Jackson.

Turkey’s Yasmani Copello ran the race of his life out in lane seven, eventually winning in a national record of 48.89, and so would have been unaware that Jackson looked like he was running on sand in the first half of the race.

Jackson started to close on the leaders from 250 metres but then all his energy seemed to drain away just before the final hurdles and he came home seven in 50.14, a performance he was later to describe as “the most disappointing of my life”.

By contrast, Russia’s Denis Kudryavtsev had the best race of his life, the European bronze medallist winning the fifth and final heat in a personal best of 48.51.

Behind him, noticeably easing off in the final few metres, Poland’s Patryk Dobek and USA’s Johnny Dutch also went under 49 seconds when they crossed the line in 48.51 and 48.92 respectively.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF