Tokyo previews – Women’s 400m Hurdles

Tokyo will feature three of the five fastest 400m hurdlers of all time. A fourth didn’t even manage to make the US team. That’s how stacked the Women’s 400m hurdles is. Here’s our Tokyo preview.


Friday 30 July 02:55 UK Time (Round 1) Sun 1 August 13:05 UK Time (Semifinals) Tuesday 3 August 04:20 UK Time (Final)

2021 Fastest Times

2021 RankingsTime (s)AthleteCountry
151.9Sydney McLaughlinUSA
252.37Femke BolNetherlands
352.39Shamier LittleUSA
452.42Dalilah MuhammadUSA
552.96Anna RyzhykovaUkrain
653.68Janieve RussellJamaica
753.7Anna CockrellUSA
854.02Viktoriya TkachukUkraine
954.24Cara Nnenya HaileyUSA
1054.28Emma Zapletalov√° Slovakia

British interest

A full British team is in Tokyo. Meghan Beesley, Jessie Knight and Jessica Turner are there with Knight currently isolating due to coming into contact with a positive case.

Knight recently ran the twelth fastest time this year to finish fourth in Gateshead (54.69). Jessica Turner is fourteenth on the list with 54.77 with Meghan Beesley fourty-third in 55.80. Both Turner and Knight will be hurdling with a final slot in mind and Beesley will hope to get back to her 2015 best (54.52).

The favourites

Sydney McLaughlin is the favourite, having become the first women to run under 52 seconds in history. Her dominant win in Eugene will have her confident of a first global gold.

The last woman to beat her over the 400m hurdles is the Doha World and defending Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad. She pushed McLaughlin all the way in Eugene and it is her world record that McLaughlin broke. Coming in second favourite may yet be a blessing.

Femke Bol is also undefeated this year and edged out Shamier Little in Stockholm. That made her the fourth fastest of all time, one place ahead of Little who did not make the US team. Bol is only twenty-one but also picked up the Euro Indoors title over 400m earlier this year.

Bol, Muhammad and McLaughlin are the clear front three and the Olympic record looks in real jeopardy (52.64).

Hoping to take advantage should they slip will be Anna Ryzhkyova of Ukraine who is the only other athlete to have run under 53 seconds this year.

Janieve Russell of Jamaica and Anna Cockrell, the third US team member are the only under 54.

Our medal predictions

  1. Sydney McLaughlin
  2. Dalilah Muhammad
  3. Femke Bol


WR: 51.90 Sydney McLaughlin (2021)

OR: 52.64 Melanie Walker (2008 Beijing)

Liked our Women’s 400m hurdles preview? Check out the rest.

Featured image “400m hurdles” by Lim CK is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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