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2001 The Review - The Hurdles

2001 The ReviewThe Hurdles
10 December 2001 – Statisticians Mirko Jalava and A Lennart Julin continue their historical review of the 2001 athletics season with a look at the hurdles.


Men’s Hurdles
Mirko Jalava

The 110m and 400m hurdles are both doing well. With 2000 Olympic Champion Anier Garcia (CUB) and 1996 Olympic Champion Allen Johnson (USA) battling for titles, the sprint event couldn’t be in better shape. Both athletes are well capable of breaking Colin Jackson’s (GBR) World Record 12.91, set at the Stuttgart World Championships in 1993. Johnson already came close to that mark in 1996, when he ran a personal best of 12.92 to win the Olympic title and in 1997, when he took the world title in Athens with 12.93. Garcia is no slouch either, running 13.00 to win the Olympic gold in Sydney.

In the longer event, a new face emerged in 2001, Felix Sanchez (DOM), who has been the dominant force. Sanchez won all his races from 4 July and the Caribbean Record of 47.38 he set in Zürich remains the world leading time. Sanchez also has impressive speed over the 400m flat so we can expect better marks for the hurdles in the future.

110m hurdles

Allen Johnson started the season slowly, but was in form for the National Championships in June. He won the final in Eugene with 13.22 into a strong headwind of -3.2 m/s – a superb performance. In July though, Johnson had problems as only about every other race went well. Johnson was only 7th in Lausanne on July 4 and 5th in Nice on July 9. By contrast Anier Garcia was looking good. The Cuban raced 18 times winning 11 and finishing second on 6 occasions. Only once, did he not finish a race. Garcia lost narrowly to Johnson in the Edmonton final (13.04 to 13.07) and was far more consistent than the American.

It would be easy to predict that Garcia will be the next man to break the world record. At the age of 25, Garcia now has 30 performances at 13.20 or better. With Allen Johnson already 30, the question is who will be the next to challenge the Sydney Olympic Champion. Last year it looked like Terrence Trammell (USA) could be the man, but he faded a bit during 2001. One candidate could be the World University Games winner, 18 year-old Liu Xiang (CHN). Liu moved to number two in the

World Junior Alltime list, just 0.09 behind Renaldo Nehemiah’s (USA)

World Junior Record and was very consistent. His four fastest times were 13.32, 13.33, 13.36 and 13.42. Only a 1978-vintage Nehemiah can match this record and Liu is still a junior in 2002.

IAAF World Rankings 2001
Men 110m Hurdles

Pl.

Athlete

Birth

Nat

Score

 

 

 

 

 

1.

Allen JOHNSON 71 USA 1431

2.

Anier GARCIA 76 CUB 1425

3.

Terrance TRAMMELL 78 USA 1362

4.

Dudley DORIVAL 75 HAI 1338

5.

Larry WADE 74 USA 1337

6.

Dominique ARNOLD 73 USA 1327

7.

Yoel HERNÁNDEZ 77 CUB 1325

7.

Colin JACKSON 67 GBR 1325

9.

Stanislavs OLIJARS 79 LAT 1321

10.

Mark CREAR 68 USA 1311

400m hurdles

The long hurdle event progressed in 2001. Last year, the Sydney Olympic final produced good results, but the strength in depth was even better in Edmonton. Felix Sanchez was the man to watch this season. Although he won his last four races before the World Championships, many experts did not rate his chances there. This was despite the fact that he improved Olympic Champion Angelo Taylor’s world leading time to 47.95 in London just before going to Canada.

Taylor, Olympic Silver medallist Hadi Sou’an Al-Somaly (KSA) and Italy’s Fabrizio Mori were expected to share the medals. Yet it was not Sanchez who fell short in Edmonton, but Olympic Champion Taylor. He badly hit a hurdle in the final straight of his semi-final and did not make the final. Sanchez edged Mori 47.49-47.54 to take the gold with Japan’s Dai Tamesue getting a surprise bronze in 47.89. Al-Somaly left Edmonton without a medal despite going sub-48 in the final (47.99).

This event has a bright future. After the World Championships, Felix Sanchez showed that even his flat speed has medal potential for the future. He recorded 44.90 at Gateshead to beat 400m World Champion Avard Moncur (BAH). Sanchez is already ranked 9th all-time in the hurdles and it is hard to believe that at 24, he will not improve with time. Taylor was only 21 when he won the last Olympic title, Tamesue is 23 and Al-Somaly is 24 – and all are relatively young for specialists of this event.

IAAF World Rankings 2001
Men 400m Hurdles

Pl.

Athlete

Birth

Nat

Score

 

 

 

 

 

1.

Felix SÁNCHEZ 77 DOM 1408

2.

Angelo TAYLOR 78 USA 1370

3.

Fabrizio MORI 69 ITA 1356

4.

Hadi Soua'an AL SOMALIY 76 KSA 1344

5.

Dai TAMESUE 78 JPN 1335

6.

Paweł JANUSZEWSKI 72 POL 1316

7.

Christopher RAWLINSON 72 GBR 1303

8.

James CARTER 78 USA 1295

9.

Llewellyn HERBERT 77 RSA 1292

10.

Eric THOMAS 73 USA 1287

Women’s Hurdles

A Lennart Julin

100m Hurdles

This event has a hardcore group - Gail Devers, Olga Shishigina, Svetla Dimitrova and Michelle Freeman – who have dominated it for almost a decade. All four of them were active in 2001 and the first three finished second-third-fourth in Edmonton, but there is a feeling that there may soon be a changing-of-the-guard.

One conspicuous indication was that the World Championship gold medal was surprisingly snatched away from their grip by Anjanette Kirkland. In the Edmonton final she slashed more than 2/10ths off her previous PB and moved up to a tie for 8th place on the all-time list with her 12.42.

But perhaps even more significant was the breakthrough of 23 year-old Jenny Adams who in her first season as an international athlete dominated the pre-Edmonton circuit and who just barely missed out on the medals at “the World’s”.

Together with athletes like Perdita Felicien and Susanna Kallur, who almost reached the Edmonton final despite just emerging the junior ranks, Adams signalled the arrival of a new generation that seems poised to take over the event in the near future.

IAAF World Rankings 2001
Women 100m Hurdles

Pl.

Athlete

Birth

Nat

Score

 

 

 

 

 

1.

Anjanette KIRKLAND 74 USA 1388

2.

Gail DEVERS 66 USA 1385

3.

Olga SHISHIGINA 68 KAZ 1362

4.

Jenny ADAMS 78 USA 1347

5.

Glory ALOZIE 77 ESP 1320

6.

Deloreen ENNIS-LONDON 75 JAM 1312

7.

Linda FERGA 76 FRA 1310

8.

Svetlana LAUKHOVA 73 RUS 1301

9.

Michelle FREEMAN 69 JAM 1299

10.

Nicole RAMALALANIRINA 72 FRA 1290

400m hurdles

When this event was first introduced, about a quarter of a century ago, most experts believed that early performances would quickly be overhauled when the event reached full maturity. But the 54.55 that gave Bärbel Broschat the first ever “world title” in 1980 (as the event was not accepted into the Olympics a separate World Championships race was held) would almost have got her a medal in Edmonton 21 years later: 54.51 was enough for the bronze medal!

This surprising fact could have two explanations. One is that the experts back then grossly exaggerated expectations of a future where they prophesised not just 53 or 52 second performances but even 51 seconds once “the real talents have discovered the event”. The other explanation is that the event is simply going through a slump.

As usual, the real truth lies somewhere in between. It has proved to be no simple task at all for brilliant 400m flat runners to master the hurdles. Even a couple with supposed 51/52 potential - 49.24 runner Sabine Busch in the 1980’s and 48.25 runner Marie-José Pérec in the 1990’s - have tried, but neither managed to dip under 53.20.

But it is also true that the event was much better off in the mid 1990’s than it is today. The “old guard” of Deon Hemmings, Kim Batten, Sandra Glover and Tatyana Tereshchuk have suffered below-average-years and in the late 1990’s heir apparents like Daimi Pernia and Ionela Tirlea did not progress either. As a result, the ever-consistent Nezha Bidouane has been left to dominate the event, leading the 2001 world list by almost half a second  after winning gold in Edmonton with 53.34.

The fact that the average age of the top 10 in 2001 was 29 and that only two out of them - Yuliya Nosova and Surita Febbraio - improved their PB’s reinforces the view that the event is in a state of regression not progression. Furthermore, no immediate change for the better seems likely.

IAAF World Rankings 2001
Women 400m Hurdles

Pl.

Athlete

Birth

Nat

Score

 

 

 

 

 

1.

Nezha BIDOUANE 69 MAR 1390

2.

Tetyana TERESHCHUK-ANTIPOVA 69 UKR 1349

3.

Yulia NOSOVA 78 RUS 1342

4.

Tonja BUFORD-BAILEY 70 USA 1340

5.

Debbie-Ann PARRIS 73 JAM 1337

6.

Daimi PERNIA 76 CUB 1336

7.

Sandra CUMMINGS-GLOVER 68 USA 1307

8.

Ionela ŢIRLEA 76 ROM 1306

9.

Deon HEMMINGS 68 JAM 1290

10.

Natalya TORSHINA 68 KAZ 1246

See The 2001 Reviews of: The Sprints - The Jumps - Middle Distance - Long Distance Events - The Throws -