World Champs Men’s 400H — The No. 3 Mark Ever

By the middle of the homestretch Alison dos Santos was closing in on his 46.29. (ANDREW McCLANAHAN/PHOTO RUN)

YOUTHFUL Alison dos Santos, who turned 22 in June, entered the meet in the favorite’s position on the T&FN formchart. He lived up to it — and more — winning with a PR 46.29, the No. 3 performance ever.

Only last year’s Olympic 1–2 by Karsten Warholm (45.94) and Rai Benjamin (46.17) stand ahead of the Brazilian — the Olympic bronze medalist — on the all-time list, and he soundly beat both here, maintaining his undefeated status for the year.

The heats revealed little, but the semis eliminated fourth-rated Kyron McMaster, who was a no-show, and Yasmani Copello, who finished last, both in semi I, with Benjamin winning in 48.44.

Semi 2 featured the long-striding dos Santos winning in 47.85, and a strong-looking Trevor Bassitt 2nd in 48.17.

The last semi showed Warholm to be ready after his early season hamstring tweak as he won in a season-best 48.00. Still unanswered was his ability to go three rounds. France’s Wilfried Happio impressed with a 48.14 for 2nd, while American Khallifah Rosser, 3rd at USATF in a PR 47.65, seemed satisfied with a 3rd-place finish, but a place which relegated him to an inside lane for the final.

The finals field was fairly even at the first hurdle, Rosser running in lane 1, with Rasmus Mägi, Benjamin, Warholm, Happio, dos Santos, Jaheel Hyde and Bassitt in lanes 2–8.

By the second barrier, Warholm’s typically blazing start had put him in the lead, and when he hit the first 100 in 11.09 he was a meter up on dos Santos and Hyde, with Happio and Benjamin closely trailing in 4th and 5th.

Running 12 strides between hurdles, the lanky 6-foot-7 (2.01) dos Santos was flying down the backstretch, but not gaining on Warholm as the order remained unchanged. Warholm led after hurdle 5, and at 200m in 21.50, dos Santos was still a meter back but had opened more than a meter on Hyde and Happio, with Benjamin farther back.

Dos Santos began gaining on Warholm at hurdle 6, and by No. 7 had caught the WR holder. Benjamin began his surge early in the turn, and at 6 he was in medal position. By 7 Benjamin was close and still closing. At 8 dos Santos was slightly ahead and Warholm hit the hurdle with his lead leg. Benjamin was right behind and closing and at 300m dos Santos led in 33.55, with Benjamin 0.12 back and Warholm beginning to fade, as was Hyde.

Benjamin was closing as they hit the top of the home straight, and at hurdle 9 was barely behind dos Santos. Warholm had slid closer to 4th-placer Happio than to Benjamin. Clearing the last barrier, dos Santos was starting to stretch the lead over Benjamin, with Happio 3rd, and Bassitt barely trailing in 4th and showing himself as the fastest closer down the stretch. Warholm was struggling to hold 5th from Hyde.

The run-in saw dos Santos pull away to a 4m victory over Benjamin’s 46.89, which garnered him his third silver in three successive global meets. Bassitt’s closing rush and lean got him the bronze in a PR 47.39, as he barely nipped the PR 47.41 for Happio, whose lean led to a topple and roll beyond the line.

Rosser, saddled with lane 1, closed well for 5th in 47.88, showing that a better lane draw might have put him in the mix for bronze. Hyde was 6th with a PR 48.03, and Warholm, having run all out for the medals, finished 7th in 48.42, with Mägi last in 48.92.

For dos Santos, this was the step to being considered with Warholm and Benjamin as the future of the event. Afterwards, the gold medalist was effusive, saying “I am so happy. The energy of the crowd was amazing. I felt their love, people hugging me. When you win, you start being everyone’s favorite. That’s pretty awesome to win the world title on this track.”

He added, “To celebrate, I will eat pizza at the Athletes’ Village. Many people have recommended it to me. Today I think I can drink soda.”


MEN’S 400H RESULTS

FINAL (July 19)

(temperature 86F/30C; humidity 42%)

1. Alison dos Santos (Bra) 46.29 NR (WL) (3, 3 W) (MR);

2. Rai Benjamin (US) 46.89 (AL) (x, 10 W; x, 4 A);

3. Trevor Bassitt (US) 47.39 PR (17, x W; 9, x A);

4. Wilfried Happio (Fra) 47.41 PR;

5. Khallifah Rosser (US) 47.88;

6. Jaheel Hyde (Jam) 48.03 PR;

7. Karsten Warholm (Nor) 48.42;

8. Rasmus Mägi (Est) 48.92.

(lanes: 1. Rosser; 2. Mägi; 3. Benjamin; 4. Warholm; 5. Happio; 6. dos Santos; 7. Hyde; 8. Bassitt)

(reaction times: 0.134 Happio, 0.140 Warholm & Mägi, 0.141 dos Santos, 0.147 Bassitt, 0.149 Hyde, 0.157 Benjamin, 0.176 Rosser)

HEATS (July 16)

I–1. Benjamin 49.06; 2. Abdelmalik Lahoulou (Alg) 49.58; 3. Ezekiel Nathaniel (Ngr) 49.64; 4. Kazuki Kurokawa (Jpn) 50.02; 5. Chieh Chen (Tai) 50.28; 6. Chris McAlister (GB) 51.55;… dnf—Jordin Andrade (CPV).

II–1. dos Santos 49.41; 2. Kemar Mowatt (Jam) 49.44; 3. Happio 49.60; 4. Nick Smidt (Neth) 49.80; 5. Sokwakhana Zazini (SA) 50.09; 6. Takayuki Kishimoto (Jpn) 50.66; 7. M.P. Jabir (Ind) 50.76.

III–1. Warholm 49.34; 2. Julien Watrin (Bel) 49.83; 3. Hyde 50.03; 4. Moitalel Mpoke (Ken) 50.19; 5. Julien Bonvin (Swi) 50.40; 6. Ned Justeen Dino Azemia (Sey) 53.07; 7. Juander Santos (DR) 58.80.

IV–1. Mägi 48.78; 2. Thomas Barr (Ire) 49.15; 3. Gerald Drummond (CR) 49.16 NR; 4. Bassitt 49.17; 5. Alastair Chalmers (GB) 49.37; 6. Shawn Rowe (Jam) 49.51; 7. Yasmani Copello (Tur) 49.83; 8. Mahau Suguimati (Bra) 52.43.

V–1. Rosser 48.62; 2. Ramsey Angela (Neth) 49.62; 3. Carl Bengtström (Swe) 49.64; 4. Kyron McMaster (BVI) 49.98; 5. Mario Lambrughi (Ita) 50.18; 5. Pablo Andrés Ibáñez (ElS) 50.18; 7. Vít Müller (CzR) 50.71.

SEMIS (July 17)

I–1. Benjamin 48.44; 2. Hyde 49.09; 3. Watrin 49.52; 4. Angela 49.77; 5. Barr 50.08; 6. Chalmers 50.54; 7. Copello 51.49;… dnc—McMaster.

II–1. dos Santos 47.85; 2. Bassitt 48.17; 3. Mägi 48.40; 4. Bengtström 48.75; 5. Lahoulou 48.90; 6. Mpoke 49.34; 7. Drummond 49.37; 8. Rowe 49.80.

III–1. Warholm 48.00; 2. Happio 48.14 PR; 3. Rosser 48.34; 4. Mowatt 48.59; 5. Smidt 49.56; 6. Kurokawa 49.69; 7. Zazini 50.22; 8. Nathaniel 54.18.

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