The world will compete at Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, but it’s possible the 400-meter women’s hurdles final will come down to New Jersey versus New York.
Will world record holder Sydney McLaughlin, who grew up in Dunellen, N.J., grab the gold? Or will Dalilah Muhammad, a Jamaica, Queens, native from Cardozo High School successfully defend her title from the 2016 Rio Games?
The local rivalry will take a global stage Wednesday, when the two battle six other challengers — including a third American, California native Anna Cockrell — who survived rainy qualifying rounds.
McLaughlin, the rising superstar, won her heat Monday night in the pouring rain at 53.03 seconds and is the only woman to break the 52-second barrier, posting a blistering 51.90 in the Olympic trials.
Muhammad, who won her semifinal heat at 53.30 seconds, will try to show she still has it at 31 years old — 10 years McLaughlin’s senior.
The top competition from outside would probably come from Femke Bol of the Netherlands, whose season best (52.37) is not far off and who narrowly beat Cockrell in their heat. Cockrell will be cheered on by her brother Ross, a Buccaneers cornerback.
The two front-runners, though, are McLaughlin and Muhammad, a showdown both of states and age.