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Men's 400m hurdles final

Men’s 400m hurdles
Steven Downes for IAAF

21 October 2000 – Marek Plawgo chose the World Junior Championship final to run the fastest 400 metres hurdles of the year by an under-20 athlete, 49.23sec.

It was a formidable performance by the young Pole, in a race where the speed of the event saw casualties all around the track, with hurdles being clattered, arms waving in the air as athletes met barriers off balance, and fatigue took hold.

First to suffer was Australia’s Sean Avery, who recovered remarkably after a near-fall at hurdle three.

Then, in the home straight, Kazakhstan’s Yevgeniy Meleshenko, when seemingly certain of a medal, came to a near standstill at the last barrier.

The South African pair of Pieter de Villiers (50.52) and Okkert Cilliers (50.58) hung in there over the closing stages to pick up the silver and bronze medals.

But no one could come close to Plawgo, the latest one-lap runner from Poland to feature among the medals at a major championship in recent times, such as Pawel Januszewski, the 1998 European champion at 400m hurdles, and the relay squad that won silvers at the 1999 IAAF World Championships.