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Tag Archives: 400m
November 30, 2012Posted by on
The 400m dash was my first track event. I took up the quarter-mile during the heyday of Ernie Candelario in the early oughts. Even if I eventually shifted focus to the sprint hurdles, the 400m dash has always been my favorite sprinting event.
Here’s a clip culled from old VHS tapes. The Philippines’ Julius Nierras nips Thailand’s Jukkaip Pojaroen for the 2007 Southeast Asian Games 400m dash title. Nierras stopped the clock at 46.56s, almost a tenth of second ahead of the Thai, thanks to the former’s Herculean effort in the last fifteen meters.
This was the Philippines’ fourth consecutive SEA Games 400m gold, starting from Ernie’s back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2003 and Jimar Aing’s triumphant race in Manila back in 2005.
Results (from Jad Adrian):
- Julius Nierras PHI 46.56
- Jukkathip Pocharoen THA 46.64
- Zaiful Zainal Abidin MAS 46.75
- Amran Raj Krishnan MAS 47.24
- Ahmed Sakeh Sumarsono INA 47.45
- Ernie Candelario PHI 48.09
- Suppachai Chimdee THA 48.42
- Yan Karubaba INA 48.72
October 24, 2012Posted by on
Yuliya Gushchina Ю́лия Гу́щина is this week’s Track Beauty!
The sprinter has been a fixture in Russia’s crack relay squads for the past years. As a junior, Gushchina won a hard fought 4x400m relay bronze at the World Junior Championships in Kingston. The Russian women, a proven power in the long relays, followed this up with European Junior title the next year. Ever since 2005, Yuliya has been part of almost all of Russia’s major senior championship relay teams.
September 1, 2012Posted by on
Libania Grenot is this week’s Track Beauty!
Grenot is Italy’s best quarter-miler. The Cuban-born Italian sprinter has a personal best of 50.30s, the standing Italian record in the 400m dash. The 29-year old is a grizzled veteran of the athletics scene. She made her international debut at the World Youth Championships in Bydgoszcz in 1999 for her native Cuba, where she finished fifth in the final.
July 25, 2012Posted by on
The 4x400m relay has been the traditional finale of track & field meets. It is a long drawn struggle, showcasing both the raw speed of the athletes and their ability to dig deep at such a grueling event. Unlike in the shorter relay, where aggregate flat speed disadvantages are somehow nullified by faulty baton passing, the winning formula in the 4x400m is a lot simpler.
The Americans are the most dominant country in this event. The U.S. ladies have won five out the ten times the 4x400m relay has been held in the Olympics. Their last defeat came at the hands of the Unified Team in Barcelona. American women have won three World Championship titles since 2007. The disparity becomes even more glaring in the men’s competition, where the U.S. have lost only five times since the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. In World Championship competition, Americans have bagged a total of nine gold medals.
However, doping violations have cast a dark shadow over some of these victories, resulting into several high profile disqualifications in both Olympic and World Championship competition.
Women’s 4x400m Relay
Russian women occupy five spots in the 400m dash top ten this year, with the U.S. having three. Antonina Krivoshapka Антонина Кривошапка (49.16 SB) is the world leader. Beijing 2008 silver medalist Sanya Richards-Ross and veteran Russian Yulia Gushchina Ю́лия Гу́щина are tied in second place, each having a season’s best of 49.28s. Botswana’s Amantle Montsho (49.54 SB), the 2011 World Champion, is in fourth. The fastest Jamaican this year is Novlene Williams-Mills (49.78 SB).
The versatile Allyson Felix, the 400m dash silver medallist from Daegu, will most likely reinforce Richards-Ross, Francena McCorrory, and Deedee Trotter. In fact, the same American quartet ran the fastest time in the world this year, 3:21.18, as the United States “Red” Team at the Penn Relays. Richards-Ross, McCorrory and Felix were also part of the U.S. team that won gold (3:18.09) over Jamaica (3:18.71) and Russia (3:19.36) at the Daegu World Championships last year.
The Russian women look good on paper, with the sub-50 trio of Krivoshapka, Gushchina, and Tatyana Firova Татьяна Фирова (49.72s) at the best form of their athletics careers. Similar to the core of the American pool, the Russians have been competing as a team for around half a decade.
Ukraine (Yuliya Olishevska, Olha Zemlyak, Nataliya Pyhyda, Alina Lohvynenko), France (Phara Anacharsis, Luina Guion Firmin, Marie Gayot, Floria Guei), the Czech Republic (Zuzana Hejnová, Zuzana Bergrová, Jitka Bartoničková, Denisa Rosolova) and Belarus (Hanna Tashpulatava,Yulyana Yushchanka Юльяна Юшчанка, Ilona Usovich Ілона Усовіч, Sviatlana Usovich Святлана Усовіч) are the most likely finalists in London. The Ukrainians (3:25.07) won over the French (3:25.49) and Czechs (3:26.02) at the European Championships in Helsinki last June.
In terms of the Olympic seedings, the Americans (average 3:19.63) and the Russians (average 3:20.15) are at the top. The Jamaicans are at third, with an average time of 3:20.36.
The British (Shana Cox, Nicola Sanders, Lee McConnell, Eilidh Child), however, finished outside the medals. This could change in London, in light of the increasingly strong showing of Olympic Champion Christine Ohuruogu. The sheer emotion of running in front of a home crowd might just enable athletes like McConnell and Marilyn Okoro to run the race of their lives and Nicola Sanders to rediscover the spring in her legs.
The battle for gold will be close between the Americans and the Russians, with the Jamaicans (Rosemarie Whyte, Davita Prendergast, Novlene Williams-Mills, Shericka Williams) also in contention. The U.S. ladies are the favorites, in light of their 20-year reign as Olympic Champions. The Russians, however, might just pull off a repeat of the Unified Team’s performance in the Barcelona Olympics. The trump card would have to be individual experience of Richards-Ross and Felix, both multiple World Championship titlists and Olympic medalists. This puts the U.S. on a psychological and physical pedestal against the Russian and Jamaican women.
Top Three Predictions
Gold: United States
Bronze: Jamaica/Great Britain
Men’s 4x400m Relay
When the North American powers do not get disqualified due to technicalities (1972 Munich), disgraced due to doping violations (1997 Athens, 2000 Sydney, 2003 Paris), or absent due to boycott (1980 Moscow), it is tremendously difficult to triumph over a team donning the Stars and Stripes in the 4x400m relay, particularly amongst the men. The prolific British quartet of Roger Black, Derek Redmond, John Regis and Kriss Akabusi were the last to pull it off at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo. In the Olympics, the Jamaican victory over the U.S. in Helskini back in 1952 was the most recent.
The Americans had winning margins of 4 seconds and 3 seconds in Athens and Beijing, respectively. The rest of the field contended for the lesser medals, with the gold safely in the bag of the dominant U.S. quartets. The 4x400m relay final in Daegu was the most exciting in recent years. With all due respect to the quarter-mile abilities of hurdlers Angelo Taylor and Bershawn Jackson, putting two non-400m specialists in the relay team could have been instrumental in leveling the playing field. Coming into the home straight, LaShawn Merritt was boxed in by the tactical running of South Africa’s L.J. Van Zyl and Jamaica’s Leford Green. Merritt had to do the Virginia Shuffle to storm into tape!
However, the 400m landscape in 2012 is vastly different from 2008. Four years ago, the sixteen fastest races that season were run either by Merritt or Jeremy Wariner. Taylor was the third fastest in 2008. The 2012 top list has a more international flavor, with the likes of Luguelin Santos, the Kevin and Jonathan Borlee, Kirani James, and Demetrius Pinder not far behind Merritt, the world leader at 44.12s.
Belgium, with the Borlee brothers in the top 10, looks good on paper. So does the Bahamas, thanks to Pinder, Ramon Miller and the experienced Chris Brown. I would love to see the South Africans reprise their sterling form in Daegu, but their season’s best of 3:04.01 pales in comparison to their bronze medal winning time of 2:59.21. The relay teams of Cuba (Noel Ruíz, Raidel Acea, Orestes Rodríguez, William Collazo), Trinidad and Tobago (Renny Quow, Lalonde Gordon, Jarrin Solomon, Deon Lendore), and Japan (Kei Takase, Yuzo Kanemaru 金丸 祐三, Yusuke Ishitsuka, Hiroyuki Nakano) have also posted competitive times this year.
In terms of the Olympic seedings, the U.S. (average 2:58.97), South Africa (average 2:59.54), Jamaica (average 2:59.61), Cuba (average 2:59.93), and Russia (average 3:00.51) comprise the top five.
Despite the smaller gap in terms of flat out 400m times, the U.S. squad is still favored to win because of its depth of talent. Tony McQuay and Bryshon Nellum are ranked 3rd and 9th in the world, respectively. The experienced Wariner, despite his recent drop in form, is still a formidable relay runner. And the U.S. could always tap its intermediate hurdlers to run in the heats to save the legs of its main guns for the final.
The rest of the contenders do not have the luxury of a deep talent pool. Barring any unforseen hitches, the U.S is still the overwhelming favorite for Olympic gold.
My sentimental favorites are South Africa and the Dominican Republic, because of Oscar Pistorius and Felix Sanchez.
Top Three Predictions
Gold: United States
July 12, 2012Posted by on
At the third heat of the men’s 400m dash qualifying, the starting gun fired before Kenyan Alphas Leken Kishoyian had settled on his blocks. He finished dead last with a time of 48.39s, due to the starter’s lapse.
A re-run was ordered, even if the Kenyan team did not file a formal protest. Kishoyian, according to an IAAF article, must better the time for the least fastest finalist (Nikita Uglov, 46.49s) to barge into the medal round.
The Kenyan youngster blasted out of the blocks, running the first 200m at around 21 seconds. He was gamely cheered on by the Kenyan contingent and the rest of the spectators. Having a personal best of 45.64s, Kishoyian had the necessary firepower to accomplish the task at hand. He stopped the clock at 46.46s.
With this peculiar twist, the 400m final will feature nine athletes instead of the standard eight in the sprinting events.
In the many years I’ve closely followed major international track & field competitions, this is the only time I’ve seen a re-run in such a high level meet. When Perdita Felicien accidentally veered into Irina Shevchenko after clipping a hurdle at the Athens Olympics 100m hurdles final, the Russian officials roared for a re-run.
The request was denied.
Back in UAAP 65, however, one of my teammates had a similar experience. The officials (for reasons I’ve forgotten), allowed my teammate to run in his own final heat, after the original final had taken place.
But then again, the UAAP is just a collegiate event from the athletics-obscure Philippines.
Mike Bascombe (who uploaded the Super Sport clips)
July 4, 2012Posted by on
When the European Championships 400m dash final got underway, a lone athlete got left out of the blocks. As the rest of the field zoomed towards the finish line, Italy’s Marco Vistalli made his way slowly around the Helsinki track. Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic won gold, stopping the clock at 45.24s. The Italian walked the distance, notching a time of 4:04.20.
Vistalli is a quality European quarter miler. He has a personal best of 45.38s from the 2010 European Championships in Barcelona. Although he had won medals at the European U23 Championships and the European Team Championships, Helsinki was his first ever major international final.
He had run times of 45.98s in the first round and 46.01s in the semifinals, where he topped his heat. Had he been able to run a time close to his personal best, a podium finish could have been possible. But then again, injuries are part and parcel of athletics competition.
Perhaps Vistalli did not want to see “DNS” or “DNF” written beside his name. According to an article from the Italian Athletics Federation, the quarter-miler has been nursing a muscle injury that was exacerbated in the semifinals. The Italian was applauded by the spectators for his effort and gamely made a dip to the finish.
For his display of the Olympic ideal of “taking part” and emulating Derek Redmond, I tip my hat off to Vistalli.
Other athletes who had had their Derek Redmond moments:
June 30, 2012Posted by on
I first learned about Denisa Rosolova while watching last year’s European Indoor Championships. It was remarkable how a former champion heptathlete and world class long jumper shifted to the quarter mile and strike gold! I admired her athletic talent and versatility. More importantly, Rosolova has the audacity to try something unorthodox. For this, she has reaped dividends.
June 13, 2012Posted by on
The one-lap sprint is one of the most nail-biting athletics events. It tests the threshold of human speed endurance. The race is a thrilling display of tactics, proper-timing, speed and heart.
Women’s 400m Dash
The fight for the quarter-mile gold medal would we between 2009 World Champion Sanya Richards-Ross (48.70s PB) and the 2011 World Champion Amantle Montsho (49.56s PB). The versatile Allyson Felix (49.59s PB) could make the battle three-pronged, but then again, the 100m/200m combo seems the more practical route for Felix, instead of the more grueling – and rarer – 200m/400m double.
I don’t expect the defending Olympic Champion Christine Ohuruogu (49.61s PB) to contend for gold, in light of the recent drop in her form. However, the hometown crowd could push Ohuruogu all the way to a podium spot, or a good showing in the finals at the very least.
Richards-Ross had run the fastest time this season, with her 49.39s world lead at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene. Montsho came second to the American in that same race, submitting a time three-tenths slower (49.69). Jamaican Novlene Williams-Mills (49.63s PB, 49.78s SB) is the only other sprinter to dip below 50-seconds.
Francena McCorory, a 4x400m relay gold medalist from Daegu, is in tip-top shape, having set a new personal best of 50.06s at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York. The Russians, as always, will be well-represented. This season, the top Russian quarter-milers are Yulia Gushchina Ю́лия Гу́щина (50.01s PB, 50.26s SB) and Kseniya Ustalova Ксения Усталова (49.92s PB, 50.48s SB). The experienced Anastasiya Kapachinskaya Анастасия Капачинская (49.35s PB, 51.17s SB), the bronze medallist from Daegu and the 2003 200m World Champion, is several rungs lower than her compatriots.
Richards-Ross has finally recovered from her an injury sustained a couple of years ago. After a disappointing campaign at the Daegu World Championships, the American sent a strong message to her rivals when she dominated Montsho in Eugene. The Botswanan
(and Felix, if she decides to compete in the quarter-mile) will be hard-pressed to edge out Richards-Ross for first place.
Top Three Predictions
Gold: Sanya Richards-Ross
Silver: Amantle Montsho
/Allyson Felix (if she runs the 400m)
Bronze: Francena McCorory
Men’s 400m Dash
The Americans have been the dominant force in men’s quarter-mile sprinting for the longest time. In the last three editions of the Olympics, the Americans have swept the event twice (2004 and 2008). They took the top two spots at the Sydney Olympics. The Americans are just as dominant in the World Championships, taking the World title in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009.
Jeremy Wariner (43.45s PB, 44.96s SB)has won the 2004 Olympic Gold, an Olympic silver, 2 World titles, and a World Championship silver. LaShawn Merritt (43.75s PB, 44.19s SB), meanwhile, has the 2008 Olympic Gold, one World title, and two World Championships silver medals to his name.
Wariner’s form has dipped in the last two years, as Merritt served a suspension for failing a dope test. Several new challengers – and a new quarter-mile king – have emerged. The young Kirani James (44.36s PB, 44.72s SB) convincingly won the 2011 World Championships over Merritt, a year after claiming the World Junior title in Moncton. Another veteran from the Moncton World Juniors is the 18-year old Luguelín Santos from the Dominican Republic. The fleet-footed Santos had set a new personal best of 44.45s last May, the second-fastest time this season and the eight-quickest ever by a junior athlete.
The Borlées have run competitive times, with Kevin (44.56 PB/SB) having a quicker season’s best than Jonathan (44.71s PB, 44.88s). As a testament to the depth of American 400m talent, six Americans are in the top 10 this season: Merritt, Tony McQuay (44.58s SB/PB), Michael Berry (44.75s SB/PB), Joshua Mance (44.83s SB/PB), Gil Roberts (44.84s SB/PB), and Wariner. McQuay, Berry, Mance and Roberts are all younger than twenty-three! Martyn Rooney (44.60s PB, 44.92s SB) and two-time Olympic 400m champion Angelo Taylor (44.05s PB, 44.97s SB) have also gone below 45-seconds this season.
Should Wariner be able to find the spring in his legs, the London Olympic final could feature a duel between generations – with Wariner and Merritt on one side, and James and Santos on the other. The other youngster, Santos, might just be too green to crack the top three. As much as I want to see Wariner add another Olympic title to his already impressive curriculum vitae, the signs are not pointing towards the right direction (sadly, Wariner failed to barge into the top 3 at the U.S. Olympic Trials).
But then again, the Olympics bring out the best in people.
I have a strong feeling that James has what it takes to do a Steve Lewis. Merritt is a grizzled veteran. The American (43.75s) also has a superior personal best than the Grenadan (44.35s). My sixth sense tells me that James’ youthful exuberance could spell the difference between silver and gold.
Top Three Predictions
Gold: Kirani James
Silver: LaShawn Merritt
Jeremy Wariner/Either one of the Borlee brothers/Tony McQuay
May 16, 2011Posted by on
Maris Mägi is this week’s track beauty!
The 23-year old Estonian sprinter has a personal best of 52.21s in the 400m dash. Mägi set the mark in Australia, en route to winning the 2011 Sydney Track Classic. She outclassed local bet Tamsyn Lewis, the 2008 World Indoor Champion in the 800m, by five-hundredths of a second.
The Estonian quarter-miler churned out a gutsy final stretch. As the sprinters came out of the last bend, Mägi actually placed 3rd, with the American Monica Hargrove leading the pack. Mägi clung on to the lead against a fast-finishing Lewis, shaving off a massive 0.51s from her erstwhile personal best of 52.72s set in 2008.
The Estonian has had some pretty exciting duels with Lewis in the Australian Athletics Tour. At the finals held in Perth, Mägi stopped the clock at 52.90s, beating the veteran Aussie yet again.
Mägi has had modest successes in major international meets. As a junior, she once reached the semifinal of the World Junior Championships in Beijing, ending up fifth in her heat at the 400m dash. She replicated this feat at the 2010 World Indoor Championships in Doha, but failed to progress beyond the semifinals.
Article by Joboy Quintos
March 13, 2011Posted by on
Denisa Ščerbová-Rosolová is this week’s track beauty!
The Czech athlete originally started out as a heptathlete, but shifted focus to the long jump. The then 16-year Rosolová leaped 6.40m to win silver at the World U-17 Championships. A year later, she was crowned as the World junior champion, notching a 6.61m jump in the final.
The skilled Rosolová went back to the multi-events in 2008 (her best mark in the heptathlon is 6,104 points). According to an EAA article, injuries sustained from the grueling discipline saw Rosolová shift to the 400m.
Rosolová had won numerous Czech national titles in the long jump and heptathlon. Despite winning the European indoor long jump silver in Birmingham back in 2007, triumph seemed to elude Rosolová in both the jumps and the multi-events.
In 2010, Rosolová made the big shift to the quarter-mile. Success was immediate for the versatile athlete. At the European Championships in Barcelona, the Czech went tantalizingly close to 50 seconds in the 400m, finishing 5th (50.90s) in the highly competitive final.
At the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Paris, Rosolová nipped the fancied Russian duo of Olesya Krasnomovets Олеся Александровна Форшева and Kseniya Zadorina Ксения Ивановна Задорина in the last 60m, winning her first major senior title. The 24-year old ran an indoor personal best of 51.73s en route to the gold, bettering her 2011 season’s best by a massive five hundredths of a second.
Denisa, however, wasn’t as successful outdoors in 2011. Despite notching a new personal best in the 400m dash in Ostrava (50.84s), the Czech could only muster a semi-finals finish in the Daegu World Championships, exiting the competition in 52.53s. At the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Rosolova qualified for the finals (her first in the worlds as a quarter miler) and finished in sixth place.
Article by Joboy Quintos
August 12, 2010Posted by on
The 100m/200m double in elite track & field competitions is a significant achievement in itself. Great athletes like Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt had won the twin sprints at the Olympics. The 200m/400m combination is a much challenging pairing. In major meets, only Marie Jose Perec and the iconic Michael Johnson stand out as successful conquerors of the aforesaid sprint distances. A couple of years ago, Johnson’s heir apparent, Jeremy Wariner, attempted the double unsuccessfully. The lactic acid-filled 400m race is a much different race than the 200m dash, than the half lap is to the century dash.
But then again, the 200m/400m double is not as fearsome as the 400m/800m pairing. In the history of the Olympics (as well as all the other majors – the World Championships, the European Championships, etc.), only Alberto “El Caballo” Juantorena has achieved this unusual combination of gold medals. The Australian Tamsyn Lewis had reached some measure of success in the said distances, but certainly not at the level of Juantorena’s.
Before I did the hurdles, my first event was the quarter-mile. In my readings as high school junior, the great Cuban became one of my first larger-than-life athletics heroes. Juantorena, originally a 400m sprinter, revolutionized how the 800m was run. At the 1976 Montreal Olympics, he went out like a madman on the first lap of the 800m final, taking full advantage of his sprinter’s speed. The towering Cuban ran a 50.85s 400m split, his long strides clearly evident as he overpowered the field in a then world-record time of 1:43.50. He held on for a memorable gold medal, a world record at that. I can almost imagine the shock and awe of the orthodox middle distance runners at such a bold move. El Caballo followed this up with scorching hot 44.26s, the fastest 400m run at low altitude at that time.
Even though Juantorena never replicated his stellar form in Montreal (he finished a distant fourth in the 400m dash in Moscow 1980), the Cuban’s 400m-800m double remains unprecedented. Even in the youth and juniors divisions, one will be hard pressed to find examples of such eminent talent. Perhaps its because of the inherent difference between the two events. Whereas, the 100m, 200m and 400m are all sprinting events, the 800m is a middle distance event. A sub-10 second sprinter, for instance, possesses the necessary leg power to power his way to a low 45-second or a sub-45 second 400m dash. Tyson Gay is the epitome of the all-around sprinter, having bests of 9.69s, 19.58s and 44.89s in the three events.
The 400m and 800m are light-years apart. The former is classified as a “dash” while the latter is a “run.” The distance doubles, the time required to finish the distance more than doubles. For a quarter-miler – a sprinter who digs deep, but a sprinter nonetheless – such a change of pace can be disconcerting. Not everyone is as dauntless as El Caballo. In my readings the past half-decade, I can say that I’m astute with track & field history. But I have never encountered an elite level athlete attempting to duplicate Juantorena’s feat.
What makes Juantorena special? It has to be in his long-strides and powerfully-built body. A former basketball player, Juantorena had a 9-foot (2.75m) stride. This combination of free-flowing, rhythmic strides and a sprinter’s natural affinity for speed overwhelmed his competitors, who were mostly tactical middle distance runners. Down the homestretch, the wiry middle distance specialists had no answer to the White Lightning’s long-striding, fast-finishing ways.
Winning multiple Olympic track & field golds is not as easy as bagging multiple swimming golds. Unlike in swimming, the disciplines in athletics possesses inherently vast differences in terms of energy utilization and technical proficiency. Track & field may never see the likes of a Michael Phelps, but it has its fair share of multiple medalists in the likes of Emil Zatopek (5000m, 10,000m, Marathon), Carl Lewis (100m, 200m, Long Jump, 4x100m), Usain Bolt (100m, 200m, 4x100m), Michael Johnson (200m, 400m, 4x400m) and Alberto Juantorena, whose gold medal winning ways in Montreal 1976 are truly legendary, a feat that would take generations to emulate.