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Wariner and Merritt to square off in 400m final

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-19

Two Americans, Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt (photo) and world champion Jeremy Wariner, ensured a smooth passage into the 400m final, with Merritt clocking the fastest time in the world this year, during Wednesday's semi-finals in Berlin.

AFP - Both Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt and world champ Jeremy Wariner ensured a smooth passage into the 400m final when they breezed through Wednesday's semi-finals at the world athletics championships.
   
Wariner of the United States looked very comfortable as he effortlessly won his semi in 44.69sec to book his spot in Friday's final.
   
But not to be outdone, his arch-rival, compatriot and Olympic champion Merritt blazed around the Berlin Olympic Stadium track in a world leader time of 44.37secs to ensure the pair would go head-to-head again in the final.
   
"I feel good, that was a great race," said Merritt.
   
"I can't complain now I have a day off to get ready for Friday's final.
   
"Jeremy Wariner made the final and he is the main competitor, but there are six men in the final and I take them all seriously.
   
"Here in Berlin, the adrenalin is there: in a lot of races it has been missing.
   
"I am confident from coming here on the back of the Olympic title."
   
Britain's Martin Bingham ran a personal best of 44.74secs behind Wariner in the first heat to reach the final, while Trinidad's Renny Quow also had to clock his fastest time of 44.53secs to put himself in the final behind Merritt.
   
"I am still not where my goals are, I am just going out to compete," said Bingham.
   
"I'm not winning, so personal best's don't matter.
   
"This is about building confidence and I have a lot left."
   
Spare a thought for Cuba's William Collazo who also ran a personal best in the same second semi-final of 44.93sec only to miss out on a final berth.
   
In the third semi-final, Chris Brown, who won a 4x400m silver medal at the Beijing Olympic Games, ran 44.95secs to qualify alongside Tabarie Henry of the United States Virgin Islands who clocked 44.97secs.
   
"(The race) wasn't like I thought (it would be)," said Brown.
   
"The first part was right, but the second phase wasn't.
   
"The guys have not shown their best yet, I feel good and I know I can get on the podium."
   
Ireland's David Gillick and France's Leslie Djhone, who ran a season's best 44.80secs, went through as the fastest losers.
   
"Besides Merritt, who is above the rest of the field, everybody is more or less at the same level," said the Frenchman.
   
"It will depend on recovery now."
 

Date created : 2009-08-19

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