Bralon Taplin

Bralon Taplin

by Michael Bascombe

ROME, Italy, June 1, 2016 – Bralon Taplin tackles one of his biggest challenge over the 400 metres this season when he competes in the Golden Gala Diamond League here on Thursday.

Taplin, who has the fifth fastest time over the distance this year, competes against World Champion Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa.

This will be his first Diamond League meet and his biggest competition to date following races against Olympic champion and compatriot Kirani James and former world and Olympic Champion American LaShawn Merritt.

Taplin, who clocked a personal best of 44.41 when he won the Sun Angel Classic in Arizona on April 9, is excited about competing against Niekerk on Thursday night.

“I am excited to race. Every race I have gone to I have had either Kirani or LaShawn or Kirani and LaShawn,” he told GrenadaSports on Wednesday.

“Kirani, LaShawn and Wayde went top three at Worlds last year so I think it’s time for me to race Wayde. I will likeFLOW Logo to see how I could match up against him,” he said.

“I have to race these three guys in the Olympic finals and those are the top three competing for medals and I just want to get in the medal hunt with these three so I am looking forward to race.”

But Taplin can’t underestimate the line-up which includes Isaac Makwala of Botswana who finished behind James and Merritt at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon last Saturday.

Collegiate rivals Deon Lendore of Trinidad and Tobago and Vernon Norwood of the United States as well as Jamaican Rusheen McDonald, Abdalleleh Haroun of Qatar, Kevin Borlee of Belgium and Matteo Galvan of Italy. The 400m is scheduled for 2:35 p.m. ET.

Following Rome, Taplin will fly to Birmingham, United Kingdom where he will compete against James in the Birmingham Diamond League on Sunday.

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