Saudi sprinter Mazen Al-Yassin is set to compete against 47 of the world’s best runners in the 400m race at Tokyo 2020, including South African Wade van Niekerk and Grenadian Kirani James, respective champions at the last two Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and London.
Van Niekerk won gold in 2016, edging then reigning champion James into second place, and Lashawn Merritt of the US, into the bronze medal position.
The South African won the race with a time of 43.3 seconds, breaking the world record of former American Michael Johnson by 0.012 seconds.
James won gold in 2012 as 19-year-old, coming in ahead of Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic and Lalonde Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago.
Al-Yassin first represented Saudi Arabia at the 2013 World Youth Championships in Ukraine, and the same year won gold in the 4x400m relay at the Islamic Solidarity Games in Indonesia and silver at in the individual 400m at the Asian Junior Games in Taiwan.
In 2015, another silver followed in the 4x400m relay at the Asian Games in China.
He won silver in the individual 400m at the 2017 Arab Championships in Tunisia and bronze in the relay, following that up with bronze at the 2019 Arab Championships in Egypt.
The 400m competition will take place in Tokyo between Aug. 1 and 5. The 48 qualifiers and runners offered “universality places” will be split into seven fields, with the 24 fastest progressing to the semifinals.
The qualifiers will then be divided into three new groups, with the fastest eight qualifying for the final.
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