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Event Preview Women 400 metre Hurdles

Despite her 34 years, America's Sandra Glover still has a fair chance of glory in her event. Although her season best of 54.14 posted in Rome in July is not among the leading times on the world list, the American can point to her two Golden League victories, in Paris (54.47) and recently in Zurich (54.50), not to mention her triumph at the Super Grand Prix in London (54.81). However, the competition will be fierce as she is up against some real heavyweight challengers.

Firstly, the Australian Jana Pittman is sure to be a serious contender, and also has two Golden League victories to her name this season at Oslo in June (54.42), then Rome in July where she posted her season's best time (53.62). Pittman, just 20 years old, also has the psychological advantage of superior form going into the competition.

Also worth watching closely is Romania’s Ionela Tirlea, who ran the season's third best time of 53.87 in June. Despite a setback in Rome where she finished 4th in 55.53, Tirlea has amassed three second-place finishes in Golden League meetings, crossing the line just five hundredths of a second behind Pittman at Oslo (54.47 for Tirlea, 54.42 for Pittman)

Britain's Natasha Danvers (GBR), second in the London Super Grand Prix this August, could also have a part to play in the battle for medals, provided she can reproduce her season's best form of 54.02 that she recorded in Rome.

Other potential medallists include the Ukraine's Tatiana Tereschuck-Antipova, who ran well at Zurich (54.96) and was third in London, and South Africa's Surita Febbraio who holds the season's fifth best time of 54.05. Also in contention is Team USA's Joanna Hayes who was fourth at the Paris meet with 54.66.

The big question mark in this event concerns Russia's Yuliya Pechonkina, holder of the best time this season, but who has not run at any major meets since the beginning of the year. Perhaps she has been saving herself for the World Championships?