Bershawn Jackson on his way to winning the 400m hurdles at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene (© Randy Miyazaki)
The Prefontaine Classic men’s 400m hurdles will be one of the most competitive events at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene on 29-30 May.
In the first ever men’s 400m hurdles to be held in Eugene since the IAAF Diamond League began in 2010, the field includes the world champion, the three medallists from the 2012 Olympics, and winners of four of the five Diamond Race titles.
Javier Culson of Puerto Rico is the only two-time Diamond Race winner in this event, but is yet to win a global gold medal. Nevertheless, the 30-year-old has won two silver medals at the World Championships as well as Olympic bronze in 2012.
Since taking the world title in 2013, no one has run faster than the 47.69 that Trinidad and Tobago’s Jehue Gordon clocked when winning in Moscow. The 23-year-old won the world junior title in 2010 and finished fourth at the 2009 World Championships at the age of 17.
USA’s Michael Tinsley won the Diamond Race in 2014. The 30-year-old produced the two fastest times of his life when winning Olympic silver in 2012 and world silver in 2013.
The two hurdlers with the fastest lifetime bests in the field are are Felix Sanchez and Bershawn Jackson and they are the only winners of this event at the Pre Classic in this century.
Sanchez is a two-time world and Olympic champion. The 37-year-old finished fifth in the 2013 World Championships final, 14 years after competing at his first World Championships.
Jackson is among the USA’s best ever in this event, winning four US titles and the 2005 world title. In the history of the Pre Classic, no one else has won the 400m hurdles more than once; Jackson has won it three times.
Johnny Dutch is the reigning US champion and 2010 NCAA champion. The 26-year-old has a PB of 47.63.
Switzerland’s Kariem Hussein was the breakthrough 400m hurdler of 2014. He improved his pre-season PB by almost one-and-a-half seconds, winning the European title in Zurich and then finishing second at the IAAF Continental Cup in Marrakech.
Over the past three seasons, Rasmus Magi has improved the Estonian record by more than a second. Last year he took the European silver medal. Both he and Hussein will be making their first appearances in the US.
Organisers for the IAAF
2015 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 15 May
Shanghai, CHN – 17 May
Eugene, USA – 30 May
Rome, ITA – 4 June
Birmingham, GBR – 7 June
Oslo, NOR – 11 June
New York, USA – 13 June
Paris, FRA – 4 July
Lausanne, SUI – 9 July
Monaco, MON – 17 July
London, GBR – 24-25 July
Stockholm, SWE – 30 July
Zurich, SUI – 3 September
Brussels, BEL – 11 September