Pre Classic Starts Battle For Gold In 400 Hurdles

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Press Release
April 22, 2013 

Eugene, Oregon – A  preview of the World Championships in August?  The women’s 400-meter hurdles at the Prefontaine Classic will provide just that, as the reigning Olympic and World Championships gold medalists meet the woman ranked No. 1 in the world.

Three stars headline a power-packed field at the 39th Prefontaine Classic to be held at historic Hayward Field on June 1.  The Pre Classic is a member of the prestigious IAAF Diamond League, comprised of 14 elite meets around the globe.

Russia’s Natalya Antyukh won the London Olympics by just 0.07 seconds over American Lashinda Demus, who brought home gold at the 2011 World Championships.  But it was Jamaican Kaliese Spencer who earned the Track & Field News No. 1 world ranking in 2012.  The trio is amazing in that each has broken the 53-second barrier, making the world record of 52.34 within reasonable reach as each prepares for the World Championships in Moscow this August.

Spencer is the youngest headliner at 26.  She has won world-class races in her young career at London, Rome, and Zurich.  Still, she is in search of her first championships medal, having finished 4th at the 2012 Olympics as well as at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships.  Spencer has twice been runner-up at the Pre Classic (2011, 2010).

American record holder Demus was ranked No. 2 in the world last year byT&FN and owns three previous No. 1 world rankings (2011, 2010, and 2006).  Now 28, she has a glittering collection of major medals: gold from the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, along with silvers from the London Olympics and 2005 and 2009 World Championships. Demus is the Pre Classic and Hayward Field record holder at 53.03 from 2010.

Antyukh, ranked No. 4 in the world last year by T&FN, is the oldest of the leading headliners at 31.  She is also the quickest, having transformed from the flat 400  (2004 Olympic bronze medalist with a PR of 49.85 from ‘04).  Antyukh was a hurdle star early in her career, but didn’t run over the barriers for almost a decade before switching back in 2009, making the World Championships final.  She first dipped under 53 seconds in 2010, earned the bronze at the 2011 World Championships, then PRed at 52.70 to win gold at the London Olympics.  This will be Antyukh’s first appearance in Eugene.

The Pre Classic’s incredible display of talent seems to have no end.

Three stellar internationalists are confirmed in Zuzana Hejnova, bronze medalist at the London Olympics and ranked No. 3 in the world by T&FN; Perri Shakes-Drayton, ranked No. 5 in the world by T&FN; and London finalist Denisa Rosolova, ranked No. 9 in world by T&FN.

Perhaps more impressive to American fans are a pair of fast-rising talents,Georganne Moline and T’erea Brown.  Both are Olympians.  Moline, still a blossoming collegiate star at Arizona, was 5th in the London Olympics, while Brown – a 2-time NCAA champion while at Miami and an accomplished sub-13 talent in the 100-meter hurdles – was just shy of making the London final.  They were ranked No. 7 and 8 in the world last year by Track & Field News, giving this race the Nos. 1-2-3-4-5-7-8-9 athletes in the world, and all-three medalists from the London Olympics Games.

 

Women’s 400-Meter Hurdles Personal Best
Lashinda Demus (USA) 52.47
Natalya Antyukh (Russia) 52.70
Kaliese Spencer (Jamaica) 52.79
Zuzana Hejnova (Czech Republic) 53.29
Perri Shakes-Drayton (Great Britain) 53.77
Georganne Moline (USA) 53.92
T’erea Brown (USA) 54.21
Denisa Rosolova (Czech Republic) 54.24


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