Oscar Husillos of Spain in the 400m heats in Birmingham (AFP/Getty Images) © Copyright
Report Birmingham, UK

Report: men's 400m heats - IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018

Pavel Maslak's quest for a third consecutive world 400m title got off to a somewhat rocky start in an opening round that included a quirky historic first.

First, an explanation of the latter.

Bralon Taplin, whose 44.88 run earlier this winter was the sixth fastest performance of all-time, underscored his favourite's role after cruising to a comfortable 46.37 win in heat three, the fastest time of the opening round. Behind him, Austris Karpinskis of Latvia won a spirited battle for second ahead of Bahamian Alonzo Russell. But it turned out to be a short-lived roost atop of the morning's rankings for the Granadian after officials disqualified the entire field for running out of their lanes before the break.

That's never happened before at a championship at this level, changing the dynamic of the round by clearing two more slots to the final for runners in the other five heats.

Maslak meanwhile, running in the sixth and final heat, found himself in a scrappy contest as he vied for a top-two finish and thus an automatic qualifier to tonight's semi-finals.

He lost the battle of the break to Spanish record holder Oscar Husillos, forced to run fourth until midway through the penultimate bend and third down the backstretch and off of the final turn. As Husillos forged on to a 46.51 win, Maslak moved up over the waning stages but not before expending crucial energy to barely hold off Luguelin Santos, 46.80 to 46.83, to secure the automatic qualifier. Santos, the 2012 Olympic champion, wound up advancing as well.

The fastest run of the morning was produced by Slovenian record holder Luka Janezic who controlled the second heat from the break en route to his comfortable 46.45 win, ahead of Jamaican Javon Francis (46.87) and Nigerian Chidi Okezie (46.91) who also advanced.

Heat five was also hit by a high profile DQ in the form of Costa Rican Nery Brenes, the 2012 world indoor champion. Brenes took control at the break and held on for the win, only to later be denied for an early break. The win went to Aldrich Bailey Jr, the runner-up at the US championships, in 46.77, ahead of Lee Thompson of Great Britain, who clocked 46.81.

In the first heat, Pole Jakub Krzewina pulled past Deon Lendore of Trinidad and Tobago in the last five metres to take the win, 46.57 to 46.68.

US champion Michael Cherry took heat four comfortably in 46.99 ahead of Pole Rafal Omelko (47.13). Mikhail Litvin of Kazakhstan, who ate up a lot of ground over the final 40 metres, advanced as well.

The morning's first major casualty also came in the third heat before the gun even sounded, with Abdelleleh Haroun's false start disqualification. The Qatari was the bronze medallist two years ago.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF

 

Note: Jury of appeal decisions:

Event: 400m Men Round 1 – Heat 3
A protest was presented by the Grenada team after Heat 3 of the 400m Round 1 Men, against the disqualification of their athlete Bralon TAPLIN for running on the line in the curve.
The Grenada team claim the athlete was already on a straight line and therefore didn’t create an advantage.
The Jury of Appeal reviewed the video of the incident and observed that the athlete stepped on the line in the curved part of the track.
 
Rule 163.3a
Lane Infringement
3.     (a) In all races run in lanes, each athlete shall keep within his allocated lane from start to finish. This shall also apply to any portion of a race run in lanes. 
 
The Jury rejected the appeal.
 
Event: 400m Men Round 1 – Heat 5
A protest was presented by the Costa Rica team after Heat 5 of the 400m Round 1 Men, against the disqualification of their athlete Nery BRENES claiming he was stepping on the line.
The Costa Rica team claim their athlete didn’t interfere with any other athlete.
The Jury of Appeal reviewed the video of the incident and observed that the athlete stepped on the line in the curved part of the track.
 
Rule 163.3a
Lane Infringement
3.     (a) In all races run in lanes, each athlete shall keep within his allocated lane from start to finish. This shall also apply to any portion of a race run in lanes. 
 
The Jury rejected the appeal.