Sydney McLaughlin, Dalilah Muhammad, and Femke Bol will aim to inch one step closer to their dream 400m hurdles final matchup at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games when they line up in their respective semifinals on Monday (2).
Unlike the men’s race where the officials assigned two of the fastest men ever in the event in the same race, the trio was drawn in separate races on the women’s side.
World record holder and pre-event favorite McLaughlin will push for a place in the final when she steps into the blocks in heat two. The American who ran a stunning 51.90 seconds to become the first woman to break 52-seconds in the 400m hurdles, cruised through her heat last week, but she will surely need to increase the tempo a bit against a solid field in the semifinals.
European bronze medalist Anna Ryzhykova of Ukraine, the 5th ranked woman this season with a 52.96s PB, is expected to be the main challenger to McLaughlin, with the pair starting as the favorites to advance automatically from the semis.
Emma Zapletalová of Slovakia and Poland’s Joanna Linkiewicz are also on the starting list to race from this heat.
In the meantime, defending champion Muhammad looked super comfortable when winning her heat on Saturday and we should expect more of the same in the semifinals as she continues to round into top shape.
Lining up next to the former world record holder is Jamaican Commonwealth Games champion Janieve Russell who will start right behind the American. Canada’s Sage Watson, Germany’s Carolina Krafzik and Paulien Couckuyt of Belgium will also be chasing a spot in the final.
In the third and final semifinal heat, Dutch star Bol who has been in terrific form this season, will start from lane four and will have the likes of Anna Cockrell of the United States and Viktoriya Tkachuk of Ukraine for company.