400 Round Qualifying: All 3 Americans Advance, But Makwala Says “We want to take the 400 to Africa, to make it (an) African race.”

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by LetsRun.com
August 5, 2017

LONDON — The men’s 400m qualifying rounds at the 2017 IAAF World Championships went largely according to form this morning. The heavy favorite, world record holder, Wayde Van Niekerk, won his heat in 45.27, the only of the six 400 qualifying rounds to be won in over 45 seconds. Van Niekerk may want to save as much energy as possible as he is attempting the 400/200 double and the first round of the 200 is on the day between the 400 semi and 400 final.

Van Niekerk’s chief challengers on paper coming into the meet all won their heats as Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, who is also attempting the 200/400 double, had the fastest time of the day (44.55), the Bahamas Steven Gardiner ran the second-fastest time of the day (44.75) as America’s Fred Kerley of the US ran 44.92 (5th fastest).

We now share with you some of the insight we got from talking to the runners after the race. At the end of the article, we give you full results.

Makwala was asked about the emerging success of African runners in the 400 and he wasn’t shy in his ambitions.”We want to take the 400 to Africa, to make it (an) African race. It was an American race, we want to take it to Africa,” he said. That will only add fuel to the fire of those who believe Botswana has a shot to defeat the US in the 4 x 400 (MB: Could Botswana challenge America in the 4×4?)

The focus with the media has been on van Niekerk attempting to the double, but Makwala, never higher than 5th in a global championshiops, said he can pull it off. Asked about the 400m final, he said, “The final is going to be crazy. It’s going to be hard because we are doubling.”

.45 behind Makwala in heat#5 in 45.00 was 2008 Olympic Champ LaShawn Merritt. Merritt hasn’t raced since USAs and has been battling injuries this year but is here to compete. “I haven’t been having the best of seasons. I’ve been dealing with a little bit here and there,  (but) I’m a quarter miler, I’m going to lineup and go at it.”

Merritt acknowledged he’s battling father time. The crazy thing is at 31,  he’s only a year older than Makwala (30) and we’re also not sure how familiar Merritt is even with Makwala as Merritt said of his heat, “I didn’t really push it , push it at the end, neither did the guy who won (speaking of Makwala).”

Merritt’s Post Race Comments

22 year old NCAA and US champ Fred Kerley is America’s best hope for gold in the 400 and Kerley looked great in heat 1. The only problem for Kerley was he was so far ahead in his race that he started looking around 300 meters into his race to see if he could shut it down. He continued to look around down the homestrech and nearly lost his balance and almost fell out of his lane. He threw up his hands to keep his balance but still got the heat win.

Michael Johnson on the BBC coverage didn’t see that Kerley nearly stumbled and thought he was just showboating, but he didn’t like Kerley looking around so early. Johnson said, “He is a real talent. I didn’t like this really. Just run the race. Get on with it. You can relax without having to look around. I’m not sure what that was throwing his hands out there. This is serious business. This is the preliminaries. He’s a young athlete. He’ll need to learn from that.”

Kerley throws up his hands as nearly falls out of his lane

Kerley throws up his hands as nearly falls out of his lane

Gil Roberts (44.92) and Wil London (45.10) of the US both advanced automatically as well to the semifinals by finishing second in their heats. London,who runs collegiately for Baylor, is only 19 and said running the Olympic Trials last year helped him deal with the huge morning session crowd here (the stadium was nearly full).

Results – Summary. Heat by heat results appear farther down.

115708Isaac MAKWALABOTBOT44.55 
214667Steven GARDINERBAHBAH44.75 
313712Baboloki THEBEBOTBOT44.82 
4161071Nathon ALLENJAMJAM44.91 
5111413Fred KERLEYUSAUSA44.92 .912
6261431Gil ROBERTSUSAUSA44.92 .917
7231084Demish GAYEJAMJAM44.98 
8251426LaShawn MERRITTUSAUSA45.00 
9211325Lalonde GORDONTTOTTO45.02 SB
1035766Jamal WALTONCAYCAY45.05 
1131688Kévin BORLÉEBELBEL45.09 
1241833Pavel MASLÁKCZECZE45.10 SB.091
13241422Wilbert LONDON IIIUSAUSA45.10 .092
1445871Óscar HUSILLOSESPESP45.22 PB
15361266Abdalelah HAROUNQATQAT45.27 .264
16121282Wayde VAN NIEKERKRSARSA45.27 .265
1751961Matthew HUDSON-SMITHGBRGBR45.31 
18341055Brian GREGANIRLIRL45.37 
1933952Dwayne COWANGBRGBR45.39 
20431143Boniface Ontuga MWERESAKENKEN45.58 
21531249Rafal OMELKOPOLPOL45.69 
2244689Jonathan BORLÉEBELBEL45.70 
23221065Davide REITAITA45.71 
2454843Luguelín SANTOSDOMDOM45.73 
25551132Raymond KIBETKENKEN45.75 .748
2665977Martyn ROONEYGBRGBR45.75 .750
27321324Machel CEDENIOTTOTTO45.77 

Steven Gayle of Jamaica was DQd.

Heat by Heat Results
Heat 1

11413Fred KERLEYUSAUSA44.92 Q0.151
21325Lalonde GORDONTTOTTO45.02 Q SB0.187
3688Kévin BORLÉEBELBEL45.09 Q0.147
4833Pavel MASLÁKCZECZE45.10 q SB0.198
5961Matthew HUDSON-SMITHGBRGBR45.31 q0.152
6714Lucas CARVALHOBRABRA45.860.169
7857Lucas BÚAESPESP46.000.153
81129Collins Omae GICHANAKENKEN46.100.192
9768Bachir MAHAMATCHACHA47.500.224
 Heat 2
11282Wayde VAN NIEKERKRSARSA45.27 Q0.185
21065Davide REITAITA45.71 Q0.163
31324Machel CEDENIOTTOTTO45.77 Q0.216
4915Teddy ATINE – VENELFRAFRA45.900.153
5813Yoandys LESCAYCUBCUB45.930.228
61289Luka JANEŽICSLOSLO46.060.244
7654Steven SOLOMONAUSAUS46.270.220
81456Kimorie SHEARMANVINVIN47.050.172
 Heat 3
1712Baboloki THEBEBOTBOT44.82 Q0.184
21084Demish GAYEJAMJAM44.98 Q0.206
3952Dwayne COWANGBRGBR45.39 Q0.162
41143Boniface Ontuga MWERESAKENKEN45.58 q0.219
51249Rafal OMELKOPOLPOL45.69 q0.271
6868Samuel GARCÍAESPESP46.370.176
71272Pieter CONRADIERSARSA46.620.141
81288Warren HAZELSKNSKN46.960.173
9630Narek GHUKASYANARMARM49.70 SB0.198
 Heat 4
1667Steven GARDINERBAHBAH44.75 Q0.230
21422Wilbert LONDON IIIUSAUSA45.10 Q0.221
31055Brian GREGANIRLIRL45.37 Q0.186
4689Jonathan BORLÉEBELBEL45.70 q0.174
5843Luguelín SANTOSDOMDOM45.730.182
6929Mamoudou Eliman HANNEFRAFRA45.890.137
7794Yilmar HERRERACOLCOL47.180.204
1085Steven GAYLEJAMJAMDQ0.198
 Heat 5
1708Isaac MAKWALABOTBOT44.55 Q0.232
21426LaShawn MERRITTUSAUSA45.00 Q0.219
3766Jamal WALTONCAYCAY45.05 Q0.153
4871Óscar HUSILLOSESPESP45.22 q PB0.167
51132Raymond KIBETKENKEN45.75.7480.252
6977Martyn ROONEYGBRGBR45.75.7500.145
71328Renny QUOWTTOTTO45.950.149
81032Winston GEORGEGUYGUY46.020.239
9909Sailosi TUBUILAGIFIJFIJ48.980.173
Heat 6
11071Nathon ALLENJAMJAM44.91 Q0.144
21431Gil ROBERTSUSAUSA44.92 Q0.226
31266Abdalelah HAROUNQATQAT45.27 Q0.204
41049Muhammed Anas YAHIYAINDIND45.980.155
51208Samson Oghenewegba NATHANIELNGRNGR46.630.200
61113Takamasa KITAGAWAJPNJPN47.350.158
7711Karabo SIBANDABOTBOT47.440.153