The Latest: US favorites cruise in women’s 400 hurdles

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The Latest on the track and field world championships on Wednesday (all times local):

9:30 p.m.

The U.S. women made it look easy in semifinals for the 400-meter hurdles. Now bring on the battle for gold.

Dalilah Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin were comfortably fastest as they won their semifinals in 53.81 and 53.91 seconds respectively, despite visibly easing off on the final stretch. Muhammad broke the world record when she defeated McLaughlin at the U.S. championships in July.

No other athletes went below 54 seconds, with Jamaica’s Rushell Clayton closest in 54.17.

Also qualified for Friday’s final are two-time world champion Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic and U.S. hurdler Ashley Spencer, the third fastest woman this year. Neither came close to Muhammad and McLaughlin’s pace, though.


9:00 p.m.

Michael Norman’s bid for gold in the 400 meters is over.

The fastest man in the world over the 400 this year, the U.S. runner never got going in his semifinal and finished seventh, ahead of only an injured Kuwaiti runner.

Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas qualified fastest in 44.13, ahead of the 2011 world champion Kirani James of Grenada, who is in his comeback season after spending two years battling an auto-immune disease.

The U.S. still has a shot at the gold after national champion Fred Kerley won his semifinal in 44.25. Machel Cedeno of Trinidad and Tobago was fastest in the semifinal containing Norman.

The final is Friday.


8:30 p.m.

After a rocky last 18 months, Olympic and world 110-meter hurdles champion Omar McLeod looks back on form at the right time.

The Jamaican struggled with injuries in 2018 and inconsistent form this season but qualified fastest from the semifinals in 13.08 seconds ahead of the final later Wednesday. Next fastest was Grant Holloway of the United States, the only man who has run sub-13 seconds this year, in 13.10.

The 2015 world champion Sergei Shubenkov, a Russian competing as a neutral athlete, started slow but finished hard to qualify second behind Holloway.

“This guy is really fast from the start and he is a tough competitor to run against,” Shubenkov said of Holloway. “We’ll see each other in the final, and the final will be hot.”

The third semifinal went to Spain’s Olympic silver medalist Orlando Ortega.

Earlier, defending champion Hellen Obiri eased into the final of the women’s 5,000 meters with the fastest semifinal time.

Ethiopia’s Tsehay Gemechu won the second semifinal ahead of Germany’s Konstanze Klostermann, an athlete from the Nike Oregon Project stable headed until recently by banned coach Alberto Salazar.


6:05 p.m.

Sifan Hassan has cruised into the semifinals of the 1,500 meters, the day after her coach Alberto Salazar was banned for doping offenses.

The Dutch runner is chasing her second gold medal of the world championships after victory in the 10,000. Her winning time of 4 minutes, 3.88 seconds was the fastest across all three heats.

Hassan trains with Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project. She has denied any wrongdoing, saying the charges against Salazar “focused on the period before I joined the Oregon Project.” Hassan is working with a replacement coach from the Dutch track federation after Salazar was banned from the championships.

Hassan narrowly beat the Olympic champion, Faith Kipyegon of Kenya, who qualified second from their heat. Jenny Simpson of the United States and Rababe Arafi of Morocco won the other heats.

Other notable athletes who made the final include European champion Laura Muir of Britain and U.S. national champion Shelby Houlihan.

The women’s 1,500 semifinals are Thursday and the final is Friday.


5:30 p.m.

There are three gold medals up for grabs Wednesday at track and field world championships, including one in women’s 200-meter sprint that looks as wide open as ever.

Defending world champion Dafne Schippers and reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson will both be on the sideline with injuries, leaving Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith and a trio of Americans who have never won a major title _ Anglerne Annelus, Brittany Brown and Dezerea Bryant _ as the top contenders.

Also up for grabs is the men’s 110-meter hurdles gold, in what looks like an equally wide-open field. Russian Sergey Shubenkov, the champion in 2015 and runner-up two years ago, has been inconsistent, as has defending champion Omar McLeod of Jamaica.

The other final on Wednesday night’s program is in men’s hammer throw.

In a rarity, decathlon and heptathlon athletes are competing at the same time _ part of the plan to condense all action into nighttime sessions. The stands in the 40,000-seat stadium were about one-eighth full when the action began Wednedsay evening in Doha.

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