Russia's Denis Kudryavtsev in the 400m hurdles semi-final at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Beijing, China

Report: men's 400m hurdles semi-finals – IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015

The summer so far has been dominated by US hurdlers but despite the fact that two US athletes made the final, a changing of the guard looks distinctly possible in Beijing as the semi-finals saw fast wins by a Kenyan and a Russian.

The first heat saw Annsert Whyte make all the running for the first 300 metres. The Jamaican was the first to rise between hurdles two to eight, but off the second bend the field started to close him down as he started to tire, eventually finishing seventh.

USA’s 2007 and 2009 world champion Kerron Clement edged in front just before hurdle nine but off the final barrier Kenya’s Boniface Tumuti found another gear and he pulled away for a slightly surprising win in 48.29, his second successive personal best of the championships and just 0.06 away from Erick Keter’s national record which has stood for 22 years since the 1993 World Championships.

Clement hung on to finish second and secure his fifth World Championships final appearance in 48.50.

The second heat saw the field evenly matched through to hurdle eight before USA’s Johnny Dutch featured off the bend.

But he tired badly off the final hurdle and went backwards just as Russia’s European bronze medallist Denis Kudryavtsev started to go through the gears, coming home in a big personal best of 48.23. The Bahamas’ Jeffrey Gibson followed him home in a national record of 48.37.

Behind the pair who qualified automatically, in a close battle for second place, Poland’s Patryk Dobek got a personal best of 48.40 while Turkey’s Yasmani Copello set his second successive national record in Beijing with 48.46. Both men were to eventually progress as fastest non-automatic qualifiers after finishing third and fourth respectively.

It will be the first time both The Bahamas and Turkey have been represented in the final of this event at a World Championships.

A little bit of US pride was restored when 2013 silver medallist Michael Tinsley won the third heat in 48.47, visibly gritting his teeth over the final two hurdles as he held off the long-striding but slightly less technically proficient Nicholas Bett on the run in over the final 30 metres. The Kenyan finished second in 48.54 to automatically advance to the final.

Phil Minshull for the IAAF