The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

2011 in Review – Women’s 400 Meter Hurdles

Nov 19th, 2011
5:49 pm PDT

imageThe women had a much better season relative to their male counterparts. Whereas the men seemed to have difficulty coming up with quality times, the women had no such troubles. Right off the bat, the women started asserting themselves as Lashinda Demus (USA) turned 54.85 to set a solid world lead on May 7th. A week later she lowered her SB to 54.58, but found herself behind the rapidly improving Kaliese Spencer (JAM) at 54.20. Two weeks later they would take to the track in Eugene with Demus turning the tables with a 53.31 to 53.45 win over Spencer – with defending World and Olympic champion Melaine Walker 3rdin 53.56 and up and coming Zuzana Hejnova (CZE) debuting at 54.25 – and the season was guaranteed to be both fast and exciting.

With the start of the European season following the National championships period, Demus would take a break til late July, but that didn’t take away from the action as Paris would see Hejnova crank out a huge 53.29 NR to win over the likes of Spencer (53.45), Natalya Antyukh (RUS, 54.41) and Walker (55.06). Demus would get in another race in Luzerne winning in 54.21. Then Stockholm would see Spencer take a 53.74 to 54.71 win over Walker, before hammering a huge PR 52.79 in London over Walker (53.90) and Hejnova (54.74) to head to Daegu with the best time in the world.

The World Championships final lined up with Spencer in lane 2 with Demus just outside her in lane 3, Hejnova in lane 4 and Walker in the outside lane 8. At the gun Demus and Walker were out like bullets as both women flew down the backstretch and around the final bend. They came off the turn nearly even as Demus would pull away slightly as they headed up the straight. Both women ran hard but Walker was unable to make a dent in Demus’ lead as both women stopped the clock with superb times – Demus taking the 52.47 to 52.73 win in the #3 time ever. Spencer ran strongly in the third position until halfway down the straight when she was overtaken by Russian Natalya Antyuhk for the bronze medal.

Spencer would come back to win in Zurich over Walker (53.43), Demus (54.04), Antyukh (54.50) and Hejnova 54.89), before closing out the season with another win over Antyukh in Rieti. And that will take us to the rankings.

 

#1 Lashinda Demus United States

The World Champion was 5 – 2 on the season with wins in Eugene and Luzerne, to go with a runner up in Shanghai, and her third in Zurich. She was the best on the clock and had a 2 – 2 season split with my #2. Earning her the top ranking here.

 

#2 Kaliese Spencer Jamaica

Spencer was only 4thin Daegu, but her 6 – 3 season record had wins in Shanghai, Stockholm, London and Zurich. The only woman she did not dominate was Demus whom she split with.

 

#3 Melaine Walker Jamaica

Walker’s season record was “only” 2 – 7 but that’s because most of her losing was done against the top two women. Walker was runner up in Stockholm, London and Zurich and had 3rdplace finishes in Shanghai and Eugene. And she ran her best when she needed to taking silver at the World Championships.

 

#4 Zuzana Hejnova Czech Republic

After much thought Hejnova gets this spot. She was only 7th in Daegu, but had a 4 – 4 record overall – one of the best. She won Oslo, Praha, Stockholm ETC, and Paris and was 4thin Eugene and London.

 

#5 Natalya Antyukh Russia

The bronze medalist comes in 5th here. The Russian champion was 2nd in Praha and Rieti and 3rdin Oslo and Paris, and had the best record in competitions outside of worlds compared to other women further down on the chart.

Now that I’m back in ranking mode I’ll take on the 1500 meters. But I do have some comments related to the Diamond League schedule that was just released that I will sneak in as well.

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