The women’s 400m hurdles semi-finals at the 2021 U.S. Olympic trials will take place on Saturday night and the featured matchup is expected to come from the second semis where world record holder Dalilah Muhammad and the in-form Shamier Little will go head-to-head. This race at the historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, will go off at 9:19 p.m. ET.
Muhammad, the 2016 Olympic champion from Rio, set the world record of 52.16 seconds on her way to winning the world championships gold medal in Doha in 2019, and she’s finally running back into form after her preparations were hammered by injuries.
Heading into the trials, the 31-year-old had only competed in two prior meetings in 2021, but her representatives have revealed that she’s ahead of schedule and is expected to at least finish in the top three this weekend.
However, Muhammad, whose season’s best is 54.50s, will need to navigate past the semi-finals where she will take on Little, the 2015 world silver medalist who owns a personal best of 52.75s and has already posted a time of 53.12.
Little comes in as the second fastest 400m hurdler in the world this season, while Muhammad is currently ranked No. 6 on the world top list.
I can almost guarantee that the reigning Olympic champion will run faster that 54.00s in her semi-final on Saturday, which will be enough to secure a place in the final.
Loaded first women’s 400m hurdles semi-finals
Olympic bronze medalist Ashley Spencer is also a starter in this heat along with 2021 NCAA champion Anna Cockrell and another pair of collegiate athletes, Shannon Meisberger and of Arizona and Brittley Humphrey of LSU.
Meanwhile, world-leader, and perhaps the favorite to win the title, Sydney McLaughlin headlines the starters in the first semi-final heat and she will run from lane five.
The world silver medalist behind Muhammad in 2019, is ranked No. 1 in the world this season on the 2021 world top list with a time of 52.83, and she won her heat comfortable on Friday night in 54.07.
Cassandra Tate, the 2015 world championships bronze medalist from Beijing, China, will start from lane six in semi-final one and she will be hoping to improve on her season’s best of 56.11s.
Kiah Seymour, Nnenya Hailey, Milan Young and Duke’s Lauren Hoffman are also set to contest the first semi-final.
The women’s 400m hurdles semi-finals at the 2021 U.S. Olympic trials will be the second track event in the evening session on Day 9.