Sunday, 9 March 2014
IAAF World Indoor Champs - women's 400m heats, semis and final report:
WRITTEN FOR THE IAAF WEBSITE -
Women’s 400m heats report:
In the opening track event at the IAAF World Championships in Sopot, Poland, the women’s 400m exponents began their qualifying campaign.
Nigeria’s Regina George clocked the fastest qualifying time in the first round by a comfortable margin, registering a swift 51.60 season’s best to take the first heat.
The 23-year-old winner of the Birmingham Grand Prix is followed by Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas. The 19-year-old 2010 world junior champion and world outdoor fourth-placer looked confident with 52.10 to cross the line first in the second heat.
Poland’s Justyna Sweity took advantage of the rapturous home support, speeding to a 52.13 lifetime best in finishing runner-up to George, as Jamaica’s Patricia Hall also qualified from the first heat with a 52.19 clocking.
Olympic 400m hurdles fourth-placer, Kaliese Spencer of Jamaica took charge in the second heat with 52.26, whilst Denisa Rosolova - the Czech Republic’s Olympic 400m hurdles finalist, claimed the fourth heat with a 52.37 season’s best.
Behind her, Francena McCorory - the fastest woman in the world this winter with a commanding 50.85 to capture the US title last month – registered 52.37. The 25-year-old Olympic 4x400m relay champion is determined to make amends for missing out on the silverware in the last three major international outdoor championships.
European outdoor runner-up Kseniya Ryzhova of Russia took second place in the third heat with 52.47, as Lisanne De White of the Netherlands claimed the runner-up spot in the second heat with a 52.61 personal best.
Capping the top ten positions from qualifying is the USA’s national silver medallist, Joanna Atkins who placed third in heat two with 52.61.
Women’s 400m semi-final report:
The fastest woman of 2014, Francena McCorory of the USA, stormed to the fastest time of the semi-final stage with a swift 51.35 clocking.
The 25-year-old comfortably claimed the second heat, which was significantly quicker than the first as the US champion and 50.85 sprinter enters tomorrow’s final as the firm favourite for the gold medal.
Behind, Jamaica’s Olympic 400m hurdles fourth-placer, Kaliese Spencer registered a 51.58 lifetime best to assert her intentions for a global medal on the flat.
19-year-old Shaunae Miller of the Bahamas sped to a 51.63 season’s best with third position in the same heat. The 2010 world junior champion and 2013 world outdoor fourth-placer could well be set to capture her first senior medal at a major championships.
Jamaica’s Patricia Hall took the first heat with a 52.82 clocking ahead of Polish favourite, Justyna Sweity whose progression courtesy a 52.97 run into the two-lap final whipped the home crowd into an excitable frenzy.
Lisanne De White of the Netherlands took the final qualification spot with 53.12 for third place in the first heat.
Of those to miss out on a spot in the final were European outdoor runner-up, Kseniya Ryzhova of Russia who finished fourth in the second heat with 51.64 and the USA’s Joanna Atkins who clocked a disappointing 53.20 for fourth in heat one.
The Czech Republic’s Olympic 400m hurdles finalist, Denisa Rosolova failed to finish the first heat, whilst Nigeria’s Regina George, the fastest in the first round, failed to contest the semi-final stage altogether.
Women’s 400m final report:
The USA’s Francena McCorory lived up expectations as the favourite, speeding to a popular 51.12 two-lap victory.
The 25-year-old 2012 Olympic 4x400m relay champion made up for placing only sixth in the world outdoor championships in Moscow last summer by claiming her first major championships individual medal.
The fastest woman of 2014 with a 50.85 clocking, McCorory bided her time in fourth position at the bell before unleashing an almighty kick with 150m remaining to outclass her rivals.
Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer, the 2012 Olympic fourth-placer in the 400m hurdles, sprinted to a 51.54 lifetime best and the silver medal position, as former world junior and world youth champion, Shaunae Miller collected the bronze with 52.06.
The 19-year-old led the field up until the 200m point but faded in the closing stages.
Polish hearts were broken as Justyna Sweity had to settle for fourth place with a 52.20 clocking, whilst 2011 world outdoor 4x400m silver medallist, Patricia Hall of Jamaica finished fifth in 52.51.
US runner-up, Joanna Atkins completed the field in sixth position with 52.55.