WC Men’s 400 — Winning One For The Folks Back Home

As Steven Gardiner pulled away for gold, Fred Kerley slipped back to bronze. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

IN THE AFTERMATH of his faultless progress to the gold medal here, Bahamian Steven Gardiner’s thoughts were directed towards his home country, devastated a little over a month ago by Hurricane Dorian. The day after his compatriot and training partner Shaunae Miller-Uibo had won silver in the women’s 400, the gangly 24-year-old delivered a win in a national record 43.48, moving him to No. 6 on the all-time world list.

“It’s so big to win two medals for The Bahamas after the Hurricane,” said Gardiner, whose grandmother’s wooden house was flattened by the ferocious storm and whose father’s home was also badly damaged. “We did it for our country. Thank God, we were able to get two medals. I went through the rounds perfectly and I can’t believe I am world champion.”

The final had been rendered intriguingly open by the power failure suffered in the homestretch of the semis by event favorite Michael Norman, struggling with an ongoing adductor injury that saw him fade to 45.94. The favorite’s mantle then passed to either teammate Fred Kerley or Gardiner, depending on whom you asked. The lane draw gave the edge to Gardiner in 4, a corridor inside Kerley. The 6-foot-5 Bahamian arrived in the final straight as the clear leader and remained so, finishing well clear of Colombia’s Pan-Am champion Anthony Zambrano out in lane 8, who moved up over the final 30m to clock an NR 44.15 and claim silver.

Zambrano, 21, who had already set an NR 44.55 in the rounds, thus earned his nation’s first WC track medal. Fred Kerley, who had beaten Norman at USATF, saw silver turn to bronze in the final stretch, clocking 44.17.

Said Zambrano, “Two people are key for me to be here and make history for Colombia. My coach, Nelson Gutiérrez, and my physiotherapist, Caridad Martínez. They fed me when I had nothing to eat. I lacked discipline, but I re-grouped to work hard every day. Look how far I have come and how much farther I can take my career if I continue to fight as I have.”

Kerley, who finished 7th at London in ’17, commented, “I am very proud to win my first individual world medal. It’s only up from there and I’ll see what I can work on during the off-season. Nobody in my home town knows too much about track, so just to put Taylor, Texas, on the map is a blessing.”

Grenada’s former World and Olympic champion Kirani James has spent several years struggling to control Graves’ Disease—the same affliction with which Gail Devers had to contend—and he made a welcome return to form, impressing in the rounds and finishing 5th in 44.54 after being an early leader in the final. Jamaica’s Demish Gaye trimmed 0.09 from his PR to record 44.46 for fourth 0.08 clear of James.



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

1. Steven Gardiner (Bah) 43.48 NR (6, =8 W);

2. Anthony Zambrano (Col) 44.15 NR;

3. Fred Kerley (US) 44.17;

4. Demish Gaye (Jam) 44.46 PR;

5. Kirani James (Grn) 44.54;

6. Emmanuel Korir (Ken) 44.94;

7. Machel Cedenio (Tri) 45.30;

8. Akeem Bloomfield (Jam) 45.36.

Lanes: 2. Bloomfield; 3. Gaye; 4. Gardiner; 5. Kerley; 6. Cedenio; 7. James; 8. Zambrano; 9. Korir

Reaction times: 0.127 James; 0.144 Kerley; 0.160 Korir; 0.164 Gardiner; 0.171 Gaye; 0.182 Zambrano; 0.196 Bloomfield; 0.221 Cedenio


(October 01)

I–1. Cedenio 45.26; 2. Bloomfield 45.34; 3. Thapelo Phora (SA) 45.45; 4. Alphas Kishoyan (Ken) 45.65;

5. Lucas Carvalho (Bra) 46.01; 6. Abdalelah Haroun (Qat) 47.76;… dnf—Matthew Hudson-Smith (GB).

II–1. James 44.94; 2. Julian Jrummi Walsh (Jpn) 45.14 PR; 3. Vernon Norwood (US) 45.59;

4. Steven Solomon (Aus) 45.82; 5. Derrick Mokaleng (SA) 45.87; 6. Luka Janežič (Slo) 46.84; 7. Dicki-Terry Mael (Van) 48.52 PR.

III–1. Davide Re (Ita) 45.08; 2. Kerley 45.19; 3. Abbas Abubaker (Bhr) 45.47; 4. Mazen Al-Yassin (Sau) 45.70; 5. Mikhail Litvin (Kaz) 46.28;

6. Mahamat Bachir Ahmat (Cha) 47.65; 7. Jovan Stojoski (Mac) 47.92.

IV–1. Michael Norman (US) 45.00; 2. Gaye 45.02; 3. Leungo Scotch (Bot) 45.10 PR; 4. Youssef Mohamed Dagher (Kuw) 45.74;

5. Alonzo Russell (Bah) 45.91; 6. Todiasoa Franck Rabearison (Mol) 46.80 NR; 7. Moussa Zaroumeye (Nig) 48.13.

V–1. Gardiner 45.68; 2. Philip Osei (Can) 45.87; 3. Zambrano 45.93;

4. Ditiro Nzamani (Bot) 46.19; 5. Rusheen McDonald (Jam) 46.21; 6. Brandon Valentine-Parris (VIN) 47.39; 7. Mohammad Jahir Rayhan (Ban) 48.48.

VI–1. Korir 45.08; 2. Jonathan Sacoor (Bel) 45.32; 3. Rabah Yousif (GB) 45.40; 4. Alejandro Perlaza (Col) 45.62; 5. Nathan Strother (US) 45.71;

6. Taha Hussein Yaseen (Irq) 46.58; 7. Jessy Franco (Gib) 47.41 NR.


(October 02)

I–1. Kerley 44.25; 2. Korir 44.37;

3. Re 44.85; 4. Sacoor 45.03 =PR; 5. Phora 45.24; 6. Abubaker 45.26; 7. Strother 45.34; 8. Al-Yassin 46.11.

II–1. Gardiner 44.13; 2. James 44.23; 3. Gaye 44.66;

4. Norwood 45.00; 5. Scotch 45.00 PR; 6. Perlaza 45.17; 7. Osei 45.44; 8. Solomon 45.54.

III–1. Cedenio 44.41; 2. Zambrano 44.55 NR; 3. Bloomfield 44.77;

4. Walsh 45.13 PR; 5. Yousif 45.15; 6. Kishoyan 45.55; 7. Norman 45.94;… dnf—Dagher.◻︎