BEIJING, August 22- In contrast to the qualifying rounds of some other events on the opening day, the men’s 400m hurdles threw up its fair share of shocks and upsets.
It was no surprise to see Kenya winning all three heats of the 3000m steeplechase but the East African nation showed some prowess over less robust barriers when Nicholas Bett and Boniface Mucheru Tumuti took the first two heats.
Bett, drawn in the unflavoured lane eight. Ran his own race before powering away off the last hurdle to win in 48.37, a low-altitude best for the 2014 African Championships bronze medallist and prove that his recent time of 48.29 was no fluke.
He also proved to the fastest man in the heats.
Tumuti won his heat in a personal best of 48.79. In second place, 2013 silver medallist Michael Tinsley also ducked under 49 seconds with 48.91 as the experienced Javier Culson, of Puerto Rico, and LJ van Zyl, of South Africa, clinched the two other automatic qualifying places for Sunday’s semi-finals.
However. Trinidad and Tobago’s Jehue Gordon defence of his 2013 world title came to a swift end as his uninspired season came to an end and he trailed in seventh in 39.91, which was not quick enough to progress as one of the fastest non-automatic qualifiers.
Former world champion Kerron Clement took the third heat in 48.75, the best performance from the the highly touted US quartet which will just be a trio in the semi/finals following the elimination in the following heat of 2015 world leader and 2005 world champion Bershawn Jackson.
Turkey’s Yasmani Copello ran the race of his life out in lane seven, eventually winning in a national record of 48.89, and so would have been unaware that Jackson looked like he was running on sand in the first half of the race.
The American started to close on the leaders from 250 metres but then all his energy seemed to drain away just before the final hurdles and he came home seven in 50.14. a performance he was latter to describe as “the most disappointing of my life.”
By contrast, Russia’s Dennis Kudryavtsev had the best race of his life, the 2014 European bronze medallist winning the fifth and final heat in a personal best of 48.51.
Behind him, noticeably easing off in the final few metres, Poland’s Patryk Dobek and USA’s Johnny Dutch also went under 49 seconds when they crossed the line in 48.51 and 48.92 respectively.