AND THE WINNER IS: Grenada's Kirani James took the gold in the 400m
GRENADIAN TEENAGER Kirani James stormed to 400m gold at the athletics World Championships today.
James, 18, beat favourite Lashawn Merritt in a desperate finish in Daegu, South Korea to well and truly announce himself on the world stage.
Merritt seemed odds-on to land the gold coming into the last 100m but James’ youthful strength was to tell. The Caribbean athlete was to come home in a personal best time of 44.60 seconds while the second-placed American clocked 44.63 seconds.
For years track and field fans have waited to see what multiple world youth champion James could do against the fastest one-lap runners in the world. He has now shown them.
Earlier this month James, 19 on Thursday, gave notice of his obvious talent when he comfortably beat a world-class field at Crystal Palace, setting a personal best and a world lead of 44.61 seconds in the process.
With former world and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner out injured, James’ chances at the world championships were considerably enhanced.
As expected, James’ main challenge came from Merritt who had only just returned to the sport following a 21-month drug ban.
After his victory, James said: “I’m happy to represent my country. My job was to just go out and do my best. I’m from humble beginnings. It’s a great birthday present.”