The men’s 400m hurdles race at the forthcoming IAAF Continental Cup slated to hold in Marrakech between September 13 and 14 will be one to remember for Nigeria’s Chris Morton, as he goes against the world’s top 2 in this event, which will likely be the stiffest competition he has faced since representing Nigeria at the London Olympics. 

The Nigerian title holder, who currently sits at No.18 on the IAAF 2014 rankings for 400m Hurdles, arrived last month’s African Championships as defending champion and rekindled his rivalry with Cornel Fredericks, having faced the South African barely a week earlier at the Commonwealth Games where the latter won GOLD, while he settled for fifth in 49.65s.

Morton finished second in Marrakech as he was dethroned by Fredericks who posted 48.78s to win the event. However, the Nigerian hurdler and former NCAA champion was not far behind, as he broke the 49s barrier for the first time this season, clocking 48.92s to win silver and securing a continental ticket in the process, while Kenya’s Nicholas Bett finished third with 49.03s. Morton’s teammate, Miles Ukaoma placed sixth in 50.40s.

The men’s field at the Continental Cup is STACKED with the world’s best including Olympic bronze medallist and World No. 1, Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson (SB 48.03s) and America’s Michael Tinsley (No.2) who has a Season’s Best (SB) of 48.25s. The pair would be representing the Americas team while the European contenders are Rasmus Magi (No.5 with 48.54s) and Kariem Hussein (No. 10 with 48.70s). Japan’s Takayuki Kishimoto (No. 42, 49.49s) and Michael Cochrane complete the field as the Asia-Pacific representatives.

The race is an unpredictable one, going by Frederick’s impressive runs this season. He finished third behind Coulson and Tinsley in the New York and Lausanne legs of the Diamond League and second in Paris. He capped an impressive season with victory at the Zurich Diamond League less than two weeks ago where he posted an SB of 48.25s, the world’s third fastest time this year, with Tinsley (48.31s) and Culson (48.53s) trailing in his wake. 

It was Tinsley who emerged the Diamond League winner with 21 points from three victories, three second place finishes and one third, while Culson was second in the final rankings with 17 points. As such, Nigeria’s Morton will do well to attain a podium appearance in Marrakech, but he an Fredericks make up a formidable Team Africa to go against Team America’s Top 2 in the world. Who knows, an upset might just be in the offing!

The IAAF Continental Cup will be taking place in Marrakech, Morocco THIS WEEKEND (Sept 13th & 14th), and Chris Morton will be representing Team Africa in the men’s 400m Hurdles on Saturday Sept 13th at 7pm!

Day 1 is LIVE on SuperSport 2 from 6.20-10.10pm. Day 2 is LIVE on SuperSport 6 from 5.20-9.10pm!

Bambo Akani is the Founder and CEO of Making of Champions (MoC). He is an avid sports writer and photo-blogger, and has quickly become an internationally recognized Athletics Expert. He appeared in a new weekly Athletics segment on the Sports Tonight Show on Channels TV during the 2014 Athletics season and has also appeared on Jamaican Television and Radio to discuss the MoC "The History" Film that he Produced and Directed, and to review and analyse key events in world athletics.Bambo holds an MEng and BA in Chemical Engineering from Cambridge University in the UK and an MBA from Kellogg School of Management in the US.


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