Bershawn Jackson 48.32WL

Jackson runs world’s best time in 400
(that would be hurdles.kk)
April 19, 2008, 8:12 PM ET

LAWRENCE, Kan. – After a poor 2007 season, “Batman” is back.

Bershawn “Batman” Jackson opened his quest for a 2008 Olympic medal with a world season-best in the 400-meter hurdles of 48.32 seconds Saturday at the Kansas Relays.

“That’s where I belong – on top,” Jackson said. “It feels great to be running fast again. Batman is back. Batman returns, once again. I am fit and back in shape. It’s going to be amazing to see what I can do.”

The 24-year-old hurdler, known as “Batman” for his ability to seemingly fly over the hurdles, topped his own previous meet record time and won for the fifth time in six years at the Kansas Relays. He finished well ahead of the world-best mark of 48.8 seconds, running the fastest season-opening time of his career in the process.

“This is the meet right here that got my confidence back,” Jackson said. “This is the turning point, I have my confidence back. I’ve never ran that fast of a time in my first race so it’s going to be interesting to see what I can do.”

Jackson, who finished fourth in the Olympic trials in 2004 and missed the Olympics by one spot, was injured for most of a disappointing 2007 season. He hopes to get under 47 seconds before the trials in late June.

Not only is Jackson healthy, his swagger is back as well.

“I’m one of the best hurdlers in the world,” Jackson said. “I need to buy a cape. Look for it.”

But Jackson wasn’t the only Olympic hopeful at the Kansas Relays on Saturday. Chris Cantwell, the 2008 Indoor World Champion in the shot put, faulted on four of his six throws but won the Invitational Shot Put with a throw of 67 feet, 6 1/4 inches – well short of his meet-record toss of 70 feet, 3 3/4 inches set back in 2006.

“Not good,” Cantwell said of his day. “Not at all. Warming up I felt pretty good. I was ready, I don’t know what happened, something just got off a little bit. In training on Thursday I threw two right around 71-5 and I warmed up today at 70 feet. I thought I could have done 71 today, but no excuses.”

Cantwell, who also finished fourth in the Olympic Trials in 2004 and missed making the Olympic team by one spot, plans to compete in four more meets before the Olympic Trials this summer. Saturday was only the fifth day he was able to throw outdoors, with the unseasonably cold and wet spring hampering his training so far in 2008.

“The weather hasn’t been too cooperative in Missouri, I’m a little bit behind the eight ball right now,” Cantwell said. “I’m trying to keep my eyes on the prize. That’s more than enough time. I’m right on track. I feel really good about it. The U.S. is tough in the shot put so we’ll see. It’s not going to be a gimme, that’s for sure.”

Nichole Denby, the former Texas star and 2004 NCAA champion, won the 100 Invitational hurdles race in 12.78. She plans to switch to the 400 hurdles in her quest to make the Olympic team this summer.

Muna Lee, gold medalist in the 400 relay at the 2005 World Outdoor Championships, ran the final leg and was victorious for team Total Sports in both the 400 and 800 relays.


Sunday, 20 April 2008 Jackson’s 48.32 400m Hurdles win Highlights the Kansas Relays

Splashing through a downpour, Bershawn Jackson of the takes the 2005 400m Hurdles gold medal (Getty Images)

relnews Bershawn Jackson’s world-leading 48.32 victory in the 400m Hurdles was the key highlight at the 81st Kansas Relays in Lawrence on Saturday (19).

It was the fifth victory in the last six years for the 24-year-old former World champion and more significantly, the quickest season opener in his specialty.

“It feels great to be back and running fast again. I’m coming off a terrible season,” said Jackson, the 2005 World champion. Last year, Jackson failed to advance from the semi-finals at the World Championships in Osaka.

“I had very good performances, but I kept getting injured. My rhythm was off. I was ready at worlds, but I couldn’t get that last hurdle. I think my biggest downfall was rhythm and me being injured and not running enough races. I ran in a total five races last year.”

This season, Jackson believes, will signal a return to better form.

“It’s been an up and down season, I came out running pretty good indoors and then I hurt my hamstring so I’m a bit out of shape, but I’m still fit and still good.” Jackson illustrated a good show of speed earlier this month after a 45.55 victory in the flat 400m at the Florida Relays in Gainesville.

“I felt very relaxed coming out of the blocks and I finished strong so I’m very satisfied with my race. I’m interested to see what we do later on in the season.”

Jackson finished well ahead of Jamaicans Adrian Findley (48.93) and Ian Weakley (49.48).

Upcoming races for Jackson, aka “Batman,” include the adidas Track Classic in Carson before coming to Europe to contest the Berlin and Oslo stops of the ÅF Golden League.

“I’ll be gearing up for the [U.S. Olympic] trials and getting ready. Last Olympic trials I took fourth so this is a big year for me.”

Cantwell opens with clear victory

Recently-minted World indoor champion Christian Cantwell made his outdoor debut as well, winning with first round 20.58m effort.

The 27-year-old two-time World indoor champion produced just two legal throws in his series, but even his 20.53m toss in the fifth round would have sufficed to beat back the challenge of runner-up Dorian Scott of Jamaica. Scott, the early-season world leader (21.45 NR) reached 20.19m in the fourth round to secure second place ahead of Americans Steve Manz (19.97m) and Dan Taylor (19.87m).


Former NCAA star Nicole Denby won the women’s 100m Hurdles in 12.78 in her first outing of the season. With a 3.8 m/s wind at his back, Antwon Hicks won the men’s 110m Hurdles in 13.26, well ahead of Eric Mitchum (13.58).

Jamaican Elva Gouldbourne won the Long Jump with a 6.68m leap, out-distancing early season world lead Funmi Jimoh’s 6.59m (w +2.2) best effort. Aarik Wilson nabbed the Triple Jump title after his opening round 17.05m (+2.6) leap. Jim Dilling took the victory in the High Jump with a 2.25m clearance.

Bob Ramsak for the IAAF