David Payne in the 2008 Olympic semi-finals. He went on to take the silver. (Getty Images) © Copyright

Hurdles PREVIEW - ÅF Golden League Jackpot

MonteCarloWith the start of the ÅF Golden League only three days away we continue our Jackpot Event Previews with a summary of who to look out for in the two hurdles events which are applicable for the $1 Million ÅF Golden League Jackpot in 2009.

NOTE: As with all competitions there are likely to be changes to the start list in the final days before this year’s ÅF Golden League commences at the DKB-ISTAF Berlin meeting on Sunday 14 June, and therefore these event category previews are correct as of information available at the time of publication.

Men’s 110m Hurdles

The men’s high hurdles will reunite the second, third and fourth place finishers from last summer’s Olympic Games, promising one of the finest rematches of the afternoon in Berlin.

American David Payne has shown a great flair for producing when it matters. At the World championships in Osaka two years ago, he was called in as an alternate at the last possible moment, and came through with a bronze medal winning performance. In Beijing last year, he moved up a notch to take Olympic silver. This year he has won in Ponce,  finished fifth in New York, and last night was first in Bydgoszcz.

David Oliver, the winner of the US Trials last year, was edged by Payne in the Olympic final by just 0.01 seconds, and pieced together a strong season both pre- and post- Beijing. He collected victories in Doha, Berlin, London and Monaco in his Olympic build-up, and followed up with wins in Lausanne, the World Athletics Final in Stuttgart, and in Shanghai. In his last outing, he defended his title in Doha, running 13.09, currently the fastest in the world.

Frenchman Ladji Doucouré, the 2005 World champion, finished fourth in the Olympic final last year, capping a return from injury that has dogged him the previous few seasons.

The field also includes European champion Stanislav Olijar, and American Dexter Faulk, who has won his last three races.

Women’s 100m Hurdles

Like the men’s race, the women’s Jackpot chase begins with a trio of Beijing Finalists.

American Damu Cherry, who missed a Beijing medal by just 0.01 seconds, is already running considerably fast. The 31-year-old opened her season in April with a swift 12.69 in Gainesville, Florida, and has since competed consistently, winning in Baie Mahault, and finishing second in Doha and Eugene.

Jamaicans Delloreen Ennis-London and Brigitte Foster-Hylton, fifth and sixth in Beijing and just 0.01 and 0.02 seconds behind the bronze medallist, bring extensive experience to Berlin start line. Ennis-London took World championships silver in 2005 and bronze in 2007, the latter with a PB 12.50, and women last night in Thessaloniki.  Foster-Hylton won silver at the 2003 World championships and bronze in 2005, but is hardly slowing down. Last season, she clocked 12.49 and 12.50 in her build-up to Beijing.

American Danielle Carruthers, the winner in Ponce and runner-up in Turin last week, could be a factor as well, along with former World indoor champion Derval O’Rourke of Ireland.


There are TEN ÅF Golden League event disciplines designated to the Jackpot in 2009, five events for men and five for women, as follows:

Men: 100m, 400m, 3000m/5000m, 110m Hurdles, Javelin Throw.
Women: 100m, 400m, 100m Hurdles, High Jump, Pole Vault.

Athletics’ biggest yearly payday - ÅF Golden League Jackpot

The prize - $1 Million

The requirement - ‘6 out of 6’

The annual drama that is the season long campaign to claim the $1 Million Jackpot offered by the ÅF Golden League continues in 2009 with its ‘winner takes all’ ethos. Athletes are required to win at all six meetings in the series to acquire at least a share of athletics’ biggest yearly payday.

The possibility of a secondary prize also exists:

To sustain the active participation in the Jackpot of as many athletes as possible through to the culmination of the series, should NO athlete manage to attain six wins and claim the $1 Million, then anyone with five victories will share half the original prize - $500,000. NOTE. this secondary prize is only on offer should nobody win his or her event at all six meetings.

Cities and Dates for 2009 -

Berlin, GER – Sunday 14 June
Oslo, NOR – Friday 3 July
Rome, ITA – Friday 10 July
Paris, FRA – Friday 17 July
Zürich, SUI – Friday 28 August
Brussels, BEL – Friday 4 September

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF