In praise of the 100 meter hurdles, by Stuart Weir


Stowers_Jasmine-Doha15.JPGJasmine Stowers, Doha DL, 2015, photo by

For some time, the 100 meter hurdles has, in my mind, been one of the most under appreciated events in the sport. To combine sprinting and hurdling, over the dynamic 100 meter distance, is an acquired skill and one that can be fraught with opportunities to err.

This is Stuart Weir's homage to the 100 meter hurdles in 2015.

And, he is right.

If you know who will be the 100 meter hurdle champion in Rio, then, by all means, get those bets on.

The event that has captivated my attention more than any this year has been the women's 100 hurdles, simply because it has been so unpredictable!

Lets start with the first six Diamond Leagues, where we had three different athletes winning two each. 2008 Olympic Champion, Dawn Harper-Nelson won in Birmingham and Lausanne. Jasmin Stowers, a real new kid on the block, won in Doha in an amazing 12.35 and again in Oslo. Sharika Nelvis won in Rome and Monaco. So we reached the final Diamond League in Brussels with Harper-Nelson, Nelvis and Stowers top each with Tiffany Porter with two podium finishes not entirely out of it.

One name conspicuously absent was Sally Pearson, the 2012 Olympic Champion, who suffered a back fall in Rome, breaking her wrist and losing her season.

The uncompromising USA trials meant that being the second fastest in the world counted for nothing as Jasmin Stowers' failure to make the top three in the trials meant that she was not selected for the USA team for the World Championships.

The World Championships produced one shock after another. The first round saw all the favourites go through comfortably with 2013 world champion, Brianna Rollins fastest in 12.67,. The semi-finals were carnage. Dawn Harper-Nelson hit a hurdle, fell and was out. Another American, Kendra Harrison false-started. Of the 24 semi-finalists, only 19 finished.

In the final, none of the favourites was on their A Game, leaving Danielle Williams to take gold with a Personal Best time of 12.57, only the eighth fastest in the world this year. Sharika Nelvis was last. European Champion, Tiffany Porter, incredibly only the third European and in 5th place. Defending World Champion, Brianna Rollins, was fourth. It all left Nelvis, Harper-Nelson, Harrison, Porter and Rollins - not to mention Stowers, ruing what might have been.

The Diamond League final was the race the World Championship final should have been with all the stars stepping up to the plate. Dawn Harper-Nelson won in 12.63 with Sharika Nelvis second in 12.65, Jasmin Stowers third in 12.76 and Tiffany Porter fourth 12.81

At the end of the day it is the unpredictable, the human element, the rise of the underdog which makes sport so captivating. And if you are confident you know who will win the Olympic title, get your bet on now.

I think I will wait for a bit.

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