SWITZERLAND, Sporting Alert – The race for the IAAF World Championships title next month continues to be of great interest, following two exceptional performances over the weekend.
At the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris on Saturday, South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk threw himself in the mix by handing Olympic champion Kirani James his first defeat on the season, while breaking the African record with an impressive 43.96 second run.
He said afterwards: “I think it’s the start of something great for me.”
However, fewer than 24 hours after Van Niekerk set the African record, Isaac Makwala of Botswana, who initially held the mark in 2014 at 44.01 secs, retained his status with a spectacular 43.72 performance at a meeting in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland on Sunday (July 5).
The time posted by Makwala is a new seasonal best – improving the previous mark of 43.95, set by James at the Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on May 30.
The 28-year-old, who is now the fastest non-American 400m runner in history, jumps to fifth on the world one-lap all-time list.
Makwala also became only the third man to break 44-seconds in 2015, while recording the quickest time in the world since Jeremy Wariner ran 43.45 in 2007.
His exceptional performance at the 2015 Resisprint International meeting on Sunday moves him above the likes of American reigning world champion LaShawn Merritt and 2012 London Olympic gold medal winner Grenadian James, who each have identical lifetime bests of 43.74 secs for the event.
American legendary Michael Johnson holds the world record in the event at 43.18 seconds, which was set in 1999.
In the meantime, finishing second to Makwala in the record breaking race was 18-year-old Abdalelah Haroun of Qatar who posted an Asian record of 44.27 to lower his personal best by 0.41 seconds.
He also moves to second place on the world junior all-time table behind American world junior record-holder Steve Lewis and above Kirani James and Olympic silver medallist Luguelín Santos of the Dominican Republic.
Another highlighting performance from the meet came in the men’s 100m where Henricho Bruintjies set a South African record of 9.97 secs.
Bruintjies recorded his national record in the heats, but was unable to match that performance in the final which was affected by a -2.1m/s headwind.
The 21-year-old won the final in 10.28, with Ouhadi Aziz Maroc of Morocco taking second in 10.32 and Cayman Islands’ Kemar Hyman finishing third, at 10.37.
He became the 24th 100m sprinter to break the 10-seconds barrier on the season.
American Justin Gatlin has the two fastest times in the world this campaign, at 9.74 and 9.75.