Kirani James, from Grenada, celebrates after winning the 400m race during the Prefontaine Classic track and field meet in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, May 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Kirani James, from Grenada, celebrates after winning the 400m race during the Prefontaine Classic track and field meet in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, May 30, 2015. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

by Michael Bascombe

EUGENE, OR, May 30, 2015 – Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada produced another dominating performance to claim the 400 metres at the Prefontaine Classic – the latest stop of the IAAF Diamond League – on Saturday in Eugene, Oregon.

The Grenadian quarter-miler executed his race with strategy and purpose to post a world-best 43.95 seconds, his fifth sub-44 clocking since 2012.

His main challenger and rival American LaShawn Merritt finished second in 44.51 and Chris Brown of the Bahamas 44.54.

Running out of lane four, James pulled away from his challengers on the home stretch to remain unbeaten this season.

“I think it was a great meet. The competition was really good,” James told GrenadaSports. “Prefontaine is always a special meet for me to come and compete and I’m looking forward to return to training and then head out to Rabat (Morocco) in a couple weeks for another race,” he said.

Coach Harvey Glance was equally satisfied with James’ performance on Saturday.

“Kirani did an excellent job of executing the race. There was a lot of wind on the back stretch but he attacked his first 200m the way he had all season and ran a very strategic curve and had his fastest finish ever since we have been working together,” he said.

James is still the only non-American to run below 44 seconds, trailing world record holder Michael Johnson (43.18), Harry Reynolds (43.29), Jeremy Wariner (43.45) and Quincy Watts (43.50). Both James and Merritt have posted personal best times of 43.74.

James first dipped below 44 seconds when he won Olympic Gold (43.94) in London on August 6, 2012. He followed up with a 43.96 in Saint-Denis, France on July 6, 2013 and twice in 2014. He clocked 43.97 to edge Merrit in a photo-finish at the Prefontaine Classic on May 31 and then posted his personal best of 43.74 in Lausanne, Switzerland on July 3.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was the only other Caribbean athlete with a victory on Saturday. The Jamaican returned to her winning habit to clinch the 100m in a world leading 10.81, the same time as Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure. Kelly-Ann Baptiste (11.08) and Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago (11.90) also competed. Ahye crawled over the finish line after grabbing her right thigh with about 40m remaining.

Americans Allyson Felix (400m), Tyson Gay (100m) and Justin Gatlin (200m) also posted victories.

The next major competition is the Golden Gala (Diamond League) in Rome, Italy. However, James will next compete at the IAAF World Challenge in Rabat, Morocco on June 14 and the Paris Diamond League on July 4 before the the World Championships in Beijing, China from August 22-30.

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