Kirani James/GrenadaSports

Kirani James/GrenadaSports

by Michael Bascombe

EUGENE, OR, May 27, 2016 – The organisers of the Prefontaine Classic always go the extra mile to ensure that the best athletes are competing and this year is no exception especially in the Men’s 400 metres – another marquee event of the 2016 Diamond League Meet here on Saturday.

Five of the eight competitors in the quarter-mile have recorded sub-44 personal best times including the current and former Olympic champions.

It’s almost a ritual that there are high expectations when Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada and AmericanFLOW Logo LaShawn Merritt, a former World and Olympic champion are lined up in the same event.

“The organisers tend to get the best athletes to compete against each other and I think the guys in the 400m just like competing against each other,” James told GrenadaSports.

He said that defending the Olympic title is the focus and anticipates the best of the athletes. But for the 23 year-old Grenadian, he will be entering the Rio Games with confidence.

“The preparations are going well and as you said this event will be very competitive so depending on how this race goes we’ll be able to make adjustments in training and anything else we need to do.”

James will have Merritt in his sights running out of lane six. Machel Cedenio of Trinidad and Tobago is in lane four and Botswana’s Isaac Makwala is in lane seven.

Rusheen McDonald of Jamaica (lane one), Youseef Masrahi of Saudi Arabia (lane two) Abdalleleh Haroun of Qatar (lane three) and Bahamian Staven Gardiner (lane eight) complete the line-up.

Since the two met at the IAAF World Championships in 2011, James and Merritt have battled over 18 races with James leading their head-to-head by 11 races to 7, with a world leading time of 44.08 seconds.

Start list 400m Time: 1:35 p.m. PT/4:35 p.m. ECT

Lane Athlete Nat NR PB SB

1 Rusheen MCDONALD JAM 43.93 43.93 45.90

2 Youssef Ahmed MASRAHI KSA 43.93 43.93 46.38

3 Abdalleleh HAROUN QAT 44.27 44.27 44.81

4 Machel CEDENIO TTO 44.21 44.36 44.68

5 LaShawn MERRITT USA 43.18 43.65 44.22

6 Kirani JAMES GRN 43.74 43.74 44.08

7 Isaac MAKWALA BOT 43.72 43.72 45.15

8 Steven GARDINER BAH 44.27 44.27 45.83

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