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Men's 400m Semi-Final Recaps - Wariner and Merritt Look Great, Merritt Runs World Leader 44.37
3 heats, top-2 and next-2 fastest times qualify
Semifinal #2 World Leader for Merritt
LaShawn Merritt got out very hard, making up the two-turn stagger on Trinidad and Tobago's Renny Quow in about 50m. While Quow looked out of the race after 150m (we were upset because we picked him to get bronze), Merritt powered the entire race for a world leader 44.37. Quow proved that going out relaxed can pay off as he charged home hard for a personal best 44.53. Quow looks like a major contender for the bronze, or perhaps silver, medal. Failing to advance from the second semifinal are Martyn Rooney and Columbia University alum Erison Hurtault competing for his parents' birth-country Dominica. According to Wikipedia, the incredibly tiny Dominica has a population of about 70,000 people and was passed back and forth between empires between the 15th and 20th centuries.
In the interview to the right Merritt says he wanted to send a message in the semi, but that he also wanted to do what it took to win his heat. He said that the potential to run faster this year has been there but the adrenaline has been missing until Worlds. In the final he said he does not have a time in mind, only running whatever it takes to win.
Bahamian Chris Brown, always 4th in major championships, won the heat in 44.95. He didn't look good enough to win a medal as Merritt, Wariner and Quow looked better in the earlier heats. Tabari Henry got the other auto spot for the US Virgin Islands.
The next fastest to advance to the final both came from the first semi - Leslie Djhone (FRA) and David Gillick (IRL).
Belgium's Kevin Borlee of Florida State (he ran 44.88 last year in Bejing and is the brother of 2009 NCAA champ Jonathan and sister Olivia who made the 200m quarterfinals) went out as well but he ran a season's best 45.28. In the interview on the right he says his brother did not run here because of a stress reaction. He also talks about how he ran better in 2008 because he just ran. This year they tried to perfect everything and it did not work out as well but he was pleasd to run a season's best.
The internet broadcasters gave us some good perspective about Merritt and Wariner's performances back in 2007.