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Event Preview Men's 110m Hurdles

The USA¡¦s Allen JOHNSON, the fastest man over the hurdles this year with a time of 12.97 and reigning world champion, completely dominates this event. This year, he is aiming for a fourth world title, and is the only athlete in the event at the World Championships to have ever turned in a sub-13 second performance. The competition just doesn¡¦t seem able to touch him.
 
JOHNSON ran his best time of the season in the Stade de France„µ at the Paris Saint-Denis meeting on 4 July, taking the tape in 12.97, close to his pb of 12.92 set back in 1996, and the world record of 12.91 held since 1993 by the recently retired Briton Colin JACKSON.
 
The most serious threat to JOHNSON¡¦s title looks set to be Stanislavs OLIJARS. The big Latvian, runner up at the 2002 European championships in Munich, ran 13.08 at this year¡¦s Lausanne meeting.
 
Bronze medallist at last winter¡¦s World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, China¡¦s Xiang LIU also has a good chance of finishing amongst the medals. With a time of 13.17 at Lausanne, 5 hundredths short of his own pb, the young hurdler still has plenty of scope for improvement.
 
Elsewhere, France¡¦s Ladji DOUCOURE and the USA¡¦s Larry WADE have both run 13.23 this season. But while the 20-year-old Frenchman never seems to stop developing, the American is a long way off his pb of 13.01.
 
Colin JACKSON aside, the major absentee from the event at this year¡¦s World Championships is Cuba¡¦s Anier GARCIA, Olympic Champion and world silver medallist. The Cuban sustained an injury to the right thigh shortly before the World Championships, and although his performances this season have fallen well short of his usual high standards, he will miss out on the opportunity to go head to head with JOHNSON.