Hurdle races are about controlling one’s speed before, after and on the hurdles. Hurdling is precise. It can be a thing of beauty. When hurdlers get tired, and get close, it can look more like a roller derby race.
In the 2011 World Championship final in Daegu, such was the case. And what a final it was! European Champion Andy Turner, who tells everyone he doesn’t want to be the best hurdler in Europe, he wants to be one of the best in the world. David Oliver, he of 19 straight wins in 2010, who has had a tough second half of the season. Lui Xiang, the 2007 champion, who is back in form. Dayron Robles, the 2008 Olympic champion, who is, also back on form. Aries Merritt, the World Junior champ, who, one day, will win everything, he is that talented. Dwight Thomas, World Champion medalist, and one Jason Richardson, World junior champ over 400 meter hurdles, who has had a superb August and had a tremendous semi final earlier in the evening.
the hand; WC 110m hurdles, Xiang, Robles, Oliver, Richardson, photo by PhotoRun.net
The 110 meter hurdles is, again a race of precision. For such a final, this was a pretty ugly one. It was humid, it was warm, and the hurdler were in a tough final. Emotions were elevated, and Dayron Robles was to the left of Lui Xiang of China, with Oliver to Robles left and Richardson next to Oliver.
The race was close from the start. Oliver got out terribly. Robles, Xiang were behind Richardson, who started well. Andy Turner was out well as well.
By hurdle three, Lui Xiang and Dayron Robles were step in step, Oliver was behind, Turner ahead of Oliver and Richardson was winning the race.
By hurdle five, Xiang and Robles were matched and the right hand of Robles hit the left hand of Lui Xiang. Robles tried to move to the left, but it was pretty darn close.
Dayron Robles, WC 110m hurdles, had he won? photo by PhotoRun.net
With that, Jason Richardson became the gold medalist in 13.16, Lui Xiang of China became the silver medalist in 13.27 and Briton Andy Turner became the bronze medalist, in 13.44, with David Oliver in fourth place, also in 13.44. Aries Merritt became fifth in 13.67, with William Sharman, also in fifth in 13.67.
Not a pretty race, and some bodies left on the track, but that is hurdling.
I do remember a Russian coach who once noted that track and field was not ballet. I am not sure that I am happy that the rule 163.2 was used. There is a lot of bumping in hurdling, and the race was tight, that was part of the final.
It should just make the clashes in Brussells and Zurich that more exciting!
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