No particular surprises emerged from the semifinals of the men’s 400m, setting up one of the least predictable finals on the men’s programme.
Running on cruise control, defending champion Alleyne Francique took the first of the two semis in 45.86, just shy of his season’s best 45.80. California Molefe of Botswana, whose 45.74 in yesterday’s heats was at the time the fastest performance in the world (Xavier Carter ran 45.53 at NCAA champs last night) passed American Milton Campbell in the final 15 metres to finish second, as all three podium favorites advanced. Molefe cruised to a 46.02 clocking to Campbell’s 46.22.
Chris Brown of the Bahamas cruised to solid win in heat two, clocking 46.10, with two-time Olympian and fellow Islander Davian Clarke of Jamaica second in 46.23, a season’s best. Dmitriy Petrov held off Pole Marcin Marciniszyn for third (46.44 to 46.97) to ensure Russian representation in tomorrow’s final.
Despite his form, Francique’s task is a formidable one. No defending champion has repeated at an indoor championship since American Antonio McKay won his second straight title in 1989.