Aug. 10, 2005
UCLA senior Monique Henderson finished seventh in the women's 400m final and Bruin alumnae Michelle Perry and Joanna Hayes advanced to Thursday's 100m hurdle final during Wednesday's competition at the 2005 World T & F Championships, held at Helsinki, Finland. Weather conditions were cold and rainy.
In the women's 400m final, Henderson, who last June set an in-season collegiate record by winning the NCAA Outdoor 400m, placed seventh in a time of 51.77. Henderson's American teammates, Sanya Richards and Dee Dee Trotter, placed second (49.74) and fifth (51.14). Richards' medal winning performance is the first by an American since Jearl Miles-Clark won the bronze at the 1997 Athens World Championships. This performance marks the first time that Team USA has had three athletes in the women's 400m final at a World Outdoor Championships since Tokyo in 1991 - when Jearl Clark, Lillie Leatherwood and Diane Dixon finished fifth, seventh and eighth. "It was rough out there, but it was an equal playing field, so I can't complain," Henderson said. "I am glad I got over here and got the experience. I think this meet was a good way to end the year. I am going to take some time off and get ready for next year." The winner was Tonique Williams-Darling (Bahamas), in a season-best time of 49.55, the second-best mark in the world this season (behind Richards' 49.28 set in winning the 2005 U. S. title).
At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Henderson, Richards and Trotter were members of the Gold Medal winning U. S. 4 X 400m relay. Henderson is again a member of the U. S. 4 X 400m relay pool at the World Championships. The semis for that event are Saturday, with the final set for Sunday.
100m Hurdle Semis
Hayes, the 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist and Perry, the 2005 U. S. Champion, each had impressive performances in rainy and windy conditions in Wednesday night's 100m hurdles semifinals. Hayes finished second in the second semifinal in 12.76, with Perry, who owns four of the top five times in the world this year, winning the third semifinal in 12.86. Hayes and Perry will compete in the 100m hurdles final Thursday night.
Their American teammate, 2005 NCAA Outdoor champion Virginia Powell, finished sixth in the first semifinal in 13.02 and will not advance to the final.
Following her semi-final race, Hayes said (referring to her gold space blanket) - "This is the color of the medal that I want. I pray that I'm going to get it. I'm going home, get focused, and correct the mistake that I made tonight (hitting the first hurdle), and be ready for a war. I saw everyone pass me when I hit that first hurdle. Once I hit it, I decided to go for top two. I got out of the blocks to challenge the wind, and instead, the wind pushed me into the hurdle. I think I got too close to the hurdle and got on top of it."
After her semi-final win, Perry said, "I am happy that this is over. Hopefully the weather tomorrow will be better. Every time the hurdles come on, it seems to rain. I think I ran a technically sound race."
Women's Pole Vault
The women's pole vault final, scheduled for Wednesday and including Bruin great Tracy O'Hara, has been postponed and will now be held Friday.