American number two LaShawn Merritt had promised he was not in the race to be second best to anyone and he made a bold attempt at making good his words.
But Olympic and World champion, Jeremy Wariner, was in a different class and went away down the straight, defending his title in a personal best 43.45.
That time moves Wariner up one place in the World all-time list to be third in his own right, ahead of Quincy Watts. Only Michael Johnson and Butch Reynolds have run faster.
“I had a great finish,” commented Wariner. “I knew I could set a PB. I’m fulfilling step by step all my goals. The world record, it will come when it comes. Today means a lot to me.”
Merritt was rewarded for his temerity with a personal best 43.96 for silver while the 2000 Olympic 400m hurdles champion, Angelo Taylor, also USA, took bronze. They did it at the Olympics but this was the first 400m clean sweep for the US at a World Championships.
“I need to stay more relaxed in the last 100m,” said Merritt. “I must not tighten up on the home stretch but that is what I did.”
“I just tried to run my own race,” said the bronze medallist. “But got out too fast and got to pay for that in the last 100m.”
Wariner had run the first half of the previous rounds conservatively, but not in the final.
As they entered the back straight, Merritt on his inside was matching him stride for stride with Taylor clear in third.
With 200m to go Merritt attempted to get on terms and as they entered the final straight was on the defending champion’s shoulder.
From here on in, Wariner is normally untouchable and this was to prove no exception.
Forging ahead with his usual composure he increased his lead over Merritt who could only glance occasionally at his team-mate going away.
Behind the medallists Christopher Brown of the Bahamas ran a fine race and was rewarded with a national record of 44.45.
Osaka 2007 News Team/mb