2009 World Championships in Athletics – Women's 400 metres hurdles
In the four major championships between 2004 and 2008, the twelve available medals were won by eleven different athletes. Yuliya Pechonkina was the only athlete to reach the podium twice in that period, having won the 2005 World Championships and won the silver at the same event two years later. With such a quick turnover, it was expected that new athletes would again be possible medallists, especially as Pechonkina and reigning champion Jana Pittman-Rawlinson had withdrawn prior to the competition. However, 2005 medallist Lashinda Demus appeared to be a likely contender, having set the world-leading time of 52.63 seconds a month before the competition (significantly faster than any other athlete at that point in the season). Angela Moroşanu, Josanne Lucas were amongst the season's fastest hurdlers, but the gold and silver medallists from the Beijing Olympics, Melaine Walker and Sheena Tosta had not shown strong form.
Demus and Moroşanu recorded the fastest times on the first day of the competition, which saw no surprise eliminations. Kaliese Spencer was the third fastest, making her seem a possible finalist. Reigning Olympic champion Walker was the fastest in the semi-finals, with Lucas the second fastest in a national record time. Spencer, winner of the second race, was initially disqualified but was reinstated upon review. Amaka Ogoegbunam, a Nigerian athlete, tested positive for metenolone (an anabolic steroid) after the semi-finals, becoming the second athlete of the competition to fail a drugs test after Jamel Chatbi.
In the final race, Demus and Walker started fastest, with Lucas and Spencer not far behind. Demus took the lead near the final stretch but took the last two hurdles badly, allowing Walker to pass her to take the gold medal. Walker's time of 52.42 s was a Championship record and North American record, and only 0.08 seconds away from Pechonkina's world record. Bronze medallist Lucas had improved her national record by a significant amount (0.78 seconds) and fourth placed Spencer had set a new personal best.
Walker had won despite modest performances in the season prior to the competition, while Demus failed to match her world-leading time she had set at the Herculis meeting in Monaco. Walker's run, which capped an Olympic and World double, was the second fastest in the history of the event. Josanne Lucas had significantly improved over the course of a year, knocking two seconds off her personal best, demonstrating her potential as a future medallist.
United States (USA)
Trinidad and Tobago (TRI)
Records before the Championships
|World record||Yuliya Pechonkina (RUS)||52.34||Tula, Russia||8 August 2003|
|Championship record||Kim Batten (USA)||52.61||Gothenburg, Sweden||11 August 1995|
|World leading||Lashinda Demus (USA)||52.63||Monaco||28 July 2009|
|African record||Nezha Bidouane (MAR)||52.90||Sevilla, Spain||25 August 1999|
|Asian record||Han Qing (CHN)||53.96||Beijing, China||9 September 1993|
|North American record||Kim Batten (USA)||52.61||Gothenburg, Sweden||11 August 1995|
|South American record||Lucimar Teodoro (BRA)||55.84||Belém, Brazil||24 May 2009|
|European record||Yuliya Pechonkina (RUS)||52.34||Tula, Russia||8 August 2003|
|Oceanian record||Debbie Flintoff-King (AUS)||53.17||Seoul, South Korea||28 September 1988|
|A time||B time|
|August 17, 2009||18:15||Heats|
|August 18, 2009||20:15||Semifinals|
|August 20, 2009||20:15||Final|
Qualification: First 4 in each heat(Q) and the next 4 fastest(q) advance to the semifinals.
Qualification: First 2 in each semifinal (Q) and the next 2 fastest(q) advance to the final.
|Melaine Walker||Jamaica (JAM)||52.42||CR, AR|
|Lashinda Demus||United States (USA)||52.96|
|Josanne Lucas||Trinidad and Tobago (TRI)||53.20||NR|
|4||Kaliese Spencer||Jamaica (JAM)||53.56||PB|
|5||Tiffany Ross-Williams||United States (USA)||53.83||SB|
|6||Natalya Antyukh||Russia (RUS)||54.11||PB|
|7||Anastasiya Rabchenyuk||Ukraine (UKR)||54.78|
|8||Angela Moroşanu||Romania (ROM)||55.04|
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