Sergey Shubenkov, winner of the 110m hurdles at the IAAF Continental Cup, Marrakech 2014 (© Getty Images)
Two-time European champion Sergey Shubenkov won a three-man photo finish in 13.23 to become the first Russian sprint hurdles winner at an IAAF Continental Cup, and the first medallist since Sergey Usov was second in 1992.
It was the closest top-three finish in the history of this competition, with Shubenkov dipping just ahead of USA’s Ronnnie Ash and his own Europe teammate William Sharman, who both clocked 13.25.
After winning world bronze last year, Shubenkov has been in great form this season, and the tipsters had the Russian as marginal favourite ahead of Ash, the only sub-13-second man in the field.
Fast times were anticipated especially after Dawn Harper Nelson’s blistering win in the women’s event, but despite the blanket finish the men couldn’t get close to Allen Johnson’s championship record of 12.96.
Shubenkov, in lane seven, was out quickest of the three and had a slight lead by halfway, with Sharman in lane three a close second. However, Ash moved up to Shubenkov’s side over the last two hurdles and all three lunged for the line.
There was silence for a few moments as the trio looked up at the scoreboard to check the result. Shubenkov’s name came up in first before another wait while the judges tried to separate Ash from Sharman.
After winning two silvers this year at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, Sharman had to take third this time but by the smallest of margins.
China’s Xie Wenjun was some way back in fourth for Asia-Pacific, clocking 13.44.
Matthew Brown for the IAAF