The men’s sprint hurdlers opened their campaign this evening with all of the main protagonists safely progressing through to tomorrow afternoon’s semifinal stage.
Great Britain’s Andrew Pozzi led the way with a swift 7.53 clocking. The European indoor champion pleased the local crowd with an encouraging season’s best to win the fourth heat, while USA’s 2012 Olympic champion and world record-holder Aries Merritt clocked 7.61 behind the Briton. Konstadinos Douvalidis of Greece was third in 7.66.
USA’s Jarrett Eaton – fourth at the 2016 edition of these championships – registered 7.56 to take the second heat. Cuba’s Roger Iribarne sped to a 7.59 lifetime best for second place behind Eaton while world bronze medallist Balasz Baji also advanced, clocking 7.66 in third.
Olympic finalist Milan Trajkovic of Cyprus came within one hundredth of a second of his recent national indoor record with 7.56 to claim the opening race, while French champion Aurel Manga ran 7.62 for the runner-up spot.
Manga’s teammate, two-time world indoor silver medallist Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, claimed the fifth heat in 7.62. Petr Svoboda of the Czech Republic clocked 7.68 and Olympic finalist Johnathan Cabral of Canada ran 7.70 to also advance by right.
Ahmad Al-Molad of Saudi Arabia was timed at 7.63 to win the third heat from Jamaica’s Ronald Levy (7.65).
In a round where 24 of the 38 participants got through to the next round, there were few surprises as all the main medal contenders advanced.
Nicola Sutton for the IAAF