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Kirani James breaks 400m national, meet record in Lausanne

Modified 04 Jul 2014, 17:07 IST
Kirani James after winning the 400m race in record time

Lausanne (Switzerland), July 4 (IANS/CMC) Grenadian sensation Kirani James has streaked to victory at the Athletissima Diamond League meet in the fifth fastest men's 400 metres of all time, setting a new national and meet record and scoring another crucial win over nemesis LaShawn Merritt.

On Thursday at the Stade de la Pontaise, the 21-year-old led from the start, dominating the lap, to cross the line in 43.74 seconds - also the fastest time in the world this year, reports CMC.

"I wanted to come out and give my best. The conditions were perfect, I'm very happy with my run," the reigning Olympic and former World champion said. "A national record is always something to be proud of. It was overall a very good field. LaShawn was strong and he pushed me. I feel I'm in top shape and I'd like to carry this form to the Commonwealth Games."

James looked in imperious form as he burst from the blocks to take the lead and set the pace. He came off the final turn level with Merritt, but produced a burst in the stretch to which the American had no answer. He was forced into second in a season-best 43.92. The victory was James's second straight over Merritt following his triumph at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meet in Eugene in May, while the time was the fastest recorded in seven years.

James holds a 7-5 advantage in head-to-head meetings. There was no such success for Jamaican sprint star Yohan Blake, however, as his comeback from injury continued with another disappointing result in the 200 metres. This time, he finished sixth in a time of 20.43 seconds as Panamanian Alonso Edward won it in a season-best 19.84 seconds.

Blake, the second-fastest sprinter of all time over 200 metres, missed most of the 2013 season through injury, and has struggled on the circuit in his limited outings this year.

Meanwhile, the resurgent American Justin Gatlin raced to victory in 9.8 seconds, to dominate the 100 metres. Former World champion Tyson Gay, in his first race since serving a one-year doping ban, was second in 9.93 seconds. Veteran St Kitts and Nevis sprinter Kim Collins was fourth in 10.13 seconds.

Newly crowned Trinidad and Tobago women's national champion, Michelle-Lee Ahye reiterated her fine form this season by winning the 100 metres in 10.98 seconds. The 22-year-old clocked a world-leading 10.85 seconds at the recent national championships, en route to winning her first title.

This time, she beat CA'te d'Ivoire's Murielle Ahoure who finished second in a season-best 10.98, while American English Gardner was third in 11.19 seconds.

Published 04 Jul 2014, 17:02 IST
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