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Event Preview Men 400m Hurdles

Felix SANCHEZ (DOM), reigning World Champion and the world’s best performer this year with a time of 47.80 at the Lausanne meeting, is the hot favourite for the 400m hurdles.

His main rivals, Kemel THOMPSON (JAM), Joey WOODY (USA), Eric THOMAS (USA), Llewellyn HERBERT (RSA) and Stéphane DIAGANA (FRA), will be out to prevent him from landing the double.

Sanchez is the only man to have cracked 48 seconds this season. Though he appears unlikely to break the world record set by Kevin YOUNG (USA) at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 (46.78), Sanchez is still well ahead of the field.
 
Thompson, the in-form Jamaican, set a new personal best on 8 August at the London meet with a time of 48.05, and is a genuine challenger for Sanchez.
 
The Americans Woody and Thomas have both previously broken 48 seconds, and Woody has a personal best of 47.97 while Thomas has gone one better with 47.94. However, this season, Woody has only clocked 48.42, leaving him 5th in this year’s world rankings, while Thomas, with 48.46, trails at 7th.
 
The South African Herbert, 2nd in the 1997 World Championships in Athens, and 3rd in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, has only turned in 48.50 this season, well outside his personal best of 47.81.
 
French hopes for gold lie on the shoulders of Stéphane Diagana, European record holder (47.37), World Champion in Athens in 1997, and reigning European Champion. Back after several months’ absence due to injuries, Diagana will be hoping to get back among the medals, even though his best time so far this season is only 48.68.

However he may yet turn out to be provide the toughest opposition for Sanchez.