Des Moines (United States), April 26:
Grenadian superstar Kirani James sent a stern warning to his rivals ahead of the imminent track and field season by smashing a 19-year-old record in 400 metres at the Drake Relays here.
The Olympic gold medallist clocked a brilliant 44.22 seconds to stun a field that included nemesis and reigning World Champion American LaShawn Merritt, who could only manage fifth place in a modest 45.27 seconds, reports CMC.
James’ time — set in cold and windy conditions — was the fastest in the world this year and it eclipsed the meet record of 44.41 set by world record holder, legendary American Michael Johnson in 1996.
“I’m very happy with my time. This shows that I am in good shape. Good things can happen this season but nothing is guaranteed. It’s still early,” said the 22-year-old.
Yousef Ahmed Masrahi of Saudi Arabia finished second in 44.70 with Bahamas’ Chris Brown third in 44.76.
Merritt said he was not terribly disappointed with the outing, despite the finish. “I didn’t do so well as far as place-wise, but I still feel good. (It) wasn’t really about the time. I just needed to work on some things.”
James and Merritt will come face-to-face again next month at the Shanghai Diamond League. (IANS)