World Champs Women’s 400H — Another WR For Muhammad

Sydney McLaughlin closed in the homestretch, but never got quite close enough to Dalilah Muhammad. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

U.S. DOMINATION of the women’s long hurdles in Doha was taken for granted before the meet. The top two Americans—Dalilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin—were more than a second faster than anyone from any other country, and barring an unexpected disaster (which can always happen in the hurdles), they were going to remain on top at the Worlds.

But lots of fascinating questions remained. Would Olympic gold medalist Muhammad better the World Record of 52.20 that she had set in winning the U.S. Nationals in July? Could she even hold off McLaughlin, who won two of their three races this year, including most recently the Diamond League Final? Could the U.S. sweep the event? The answer to the last question came early. Kori Carter, who has had a subpar season, pulled up just past the halfway point on the backstretch in her heat and DNFed. Her defending champ Wild Card had gotten her into the meet, but if she had given up her place on the team, the U.S. could have used McLaughlin’s DL Wild Card and given the extra team spot to Shamier Little, who had beaten Muhammad in their last race and who would have been a medal contender here.

Both Muhammad and McLaughlin breezed through the rounds, easily winning their heats and semi-finals (DM 54.87/53.91, SM 54.45/53.81). The third American, Ashley Spencer, struggled through the two rounds, but did make the final.

The stage was set, then, for what figured to be—and turned out to be—one of the highlights of the meet. Muhammad took the lead immediately in lane 6, with McLaughlin (4) chasing her. As could have been expected, nobody else was ever close. Coming off the final turn, Muhammad had a sizeable lead. McLaughlin narrowed that lead down the homestretch but could never close the gap completely. Spencer (2) was in medal contention at the penultimate hurdle, but faded in the stretch and ended up 6th as Jamaica’s Rushell Clayton (53.74 PR) took the bronze ahead of Léa Sprunger’s Swiss Record 54.06. Two-time former champion Zuzana Hejnová (54.23) finished 5th.

Muhammad’s 52.16 lowered her WR by 0.04 and McLaughlin’s 52.23, improving on her PR of 52.75 set last year, was the No. 3 performance ever, trailing only Muhammad’s WRs. Muhammad became the first to set two WRs in one year in this event since Marina Stepanova did that in ’86. She also became the third woman to hold both Olympic and World titles.

“This means so much,” said Muhammad, who had asked herself earlier if she could get the WR. “It’s difficult to describe. I just wanted the world title so much but to break the world record again is fantastic. I just decided to go for it from the start and I felt Sydney coming at me around hurdle nine, then I just gave it everything I’d got. It hasn’t really sunk in yet but it feels good. I did not expect to break the World Record today, I was definitely just trying to win that race.”

McLaughlin, who was a just-turned-17 Olympian in Rio, accepted the loss gracefully: “I knew it would be fast but I didn’t think it would be that fast. I did everything I could and at least the U.S. got 1–2. I gave it everything I had; I’m still young and every day is a new experience for me.”


WC WOMEN’S 400H RESULTS

FINAL

(October 04) (temperature 79F/26C; humidity 61%)

1. Dalilah Muhammad (US) 52.16 WR, AR (old records 52.20 Muhammad [Nike] ’19);

2. Sydney McLaughlin (US) 52.23 PR (2, 3 W; 2, 3 A);

3. Rushell Clayton (Jam) 53.74 PR;

4. Léa Sprunger (Swi) 54.06 NR;

5. Zuzana Hejnová (CzR) 54.23;

6. Ashley Spencer (US) 54.45;

7. Anna Ryzhykova (Ukr) 54.45;

8. Sage Watson (Can) 54.82.

(best-ever mark-for-place : 1–2)

Lanes: 2. Spencer; 3. Ryzhykova; 4. McLaughlin; 5. Clayton; 6. Muhammad; 7. Watson; 8. Hejnova; 9. Sprunger

Reaction times: 0.137 Clayton; 0.141 Hejnova; 0.161 McLaughlin; 0.163 Spencer; 0.173 Ryzhykova; 0.186 Watson; 0.199 Sprunger; 0.200 Muhammad

HEATS

(October 01)

I–1. McLaughlin 54.45; 2. Sprunger 54.98; 3. Shiann Salmon (Jam) 55.20 PR; 4. Portia Bing (NZ) 55.49 NR; 4. Vera Rudakova (Rus) 55.51; 5. Lauren Boden (Aus) 56.00;

6. Jessica Moreira (Bra) 57.66; 7. Mariam Mamdouh Farid (Qat) 69.49 PR;… dq[around hurdle]—Portia Bing (NZ).

II–1. Ryzhykova 55.11; 2. Hejnová 55.33; 3. Jessica Turner (GB) 55.72 PR; 4. Yadisleidy Pedroso (Ita) 55.78; 5. Carolina Krafzik (Ger) 55.93;

6. Rhonda Whyte (Jam) 56.37; 7. Melissa Gonzalez (Col) 56.49;… dnf—Kori Carter (US).

III–1. Muhammad 54.87; 2. Zurian Hechavarría (Cub) 55.36; 3. Joanna Linkiewicz (Pol) 55.97; 4. Gianna Woodruff (Pan) 56.07;

5. Valeriya Andreyeva (Rus) 56.79; 6. Paulien Couckuyt (Bel) 57.15;… dq[around hurdle]—Sara Slott Petersen (Den).

IV–1. Amalie Hammild Iuel (Nor) 54.72 NR; 2. Aminat Yusuf Jamal Odeyemi (Bhr) 55.13 PR; 3. Ayomide Folorunso (Ita) 55.20; 4. Spencer 55.28; 5. Femke Bol (Hol) 55.32 NJR (WJL); 6. Hanne Claes (Bel) 55.68;

7. Sara Klein (Aus) 56.97; 8. Yanique Haye-Smith (TKS) 56.98.

V–1. Clayton 55.23; 2. Watson 55.57; 3. Meghan Beesley (GB) 55.97; 4. Sarah Carli (Aus) 56.37;

5. Linda Olivieri (Ita) 56.82; 6. Zeney Van Der Walt (SA) 57.11; 7. Tia Adana Belle (Bar) 57.37; 8. Lamiae Lhabze (Mor) 58.44.

SEMIS

(October 02)

I–1. Muhammad 53.91; 2. Watson 54.32 NR; 3. Ryzhykova 54.45;

4. Hechavarría 55.03; 5. Claes 55.25; 6. Rudakova 55.57; 7. Bol 56.37; 8. Beesley 56.89.

II–1. Clayton 54.17; 2. Hejnová 54.41; 3. Spencer 54.42;

4. Iuel 55.03; 5. Folorunso 55.36; 6. Linkiewicz 55.38; 7. Carli 55.43 PR; 8. Krafzik 56.41.

III–1. McLaughlin 53.81; 2. Sprunger 54.52;

3. Salmon 55.16 PR; 4. Pedroso 55.40; 5. Odeyemi 55.54; 6. Woodruff 55.61 NR; 7. Turner 55.87; 8. Boden 55.94. ◻︎

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