Kirani James/GrenadaSports

Kirani James/GrenadaSports

James erases 19 yr-old Meet record

by Michael Bascombe

BIRMINGHAM, UK, June 5, 2016 – Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada was one of three Caribbean winners on the latest stop of the IAAF Diamond League Series in Birmingham on Sunday.

James, Kim Collins of St Kitts and Nevis and Cuban world champion pole vaulter Yarisley Silva carried Caribbean victories on a sunny day at Alexander Stadium which also featured six world leading performances.

The Grenadian quarter-miler produced another impressive display of strategic running to dominate a field without rivals LaShawn Merritt of the United States and world champion Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa.

He stopped the clock at 44.23 to set a new meet record and beating the previous best of 44.49 set by Briton Iwan Thomas on June 29, 1997.

His only challenge came from Isaac Makwala of Botswana (44.97) and American Vernon Norwood (45.08). Matthew Hudson-Smith of Great Britain (45.13) finished ahead of Grenadian Bralon Taplin (45.25).

James was pleased with his performance today, his fifth win on the circuit this season and penultimate before the Rio Olympic Games in August.

“The sun is out and I’m happy to execute my performance as planned. It shows I’m in good for but I have to stay focused and keep to my plan for Rio,” said James, who will next race at the Hungarian Athletics Grand Prix on July 18.

Taplin is scheduled to compete next at the Racers Grand Prix in Jamaica on Saturday.

“I was just flat. I wasn’t tired but just couldn’t react,” Taplin told GrenadaSports.

“I saw Kirani came up in the third curve and I tried to go with him but it was just that my steps were flat-footed.FLOW Logo Honestly, coming from Rome and running fast and then trying to run fast again, I have never done it but I will have to get accustomed to it,” he said.

“I stopped running about the last 30m but I could have gone into second or third.”

Meanwhile, Collins, who turned 40 in April, continues to defy age and gravity with his demonstration of competitiveness. Despite two false starts which resulted in the disqualification of Churandy Martina of the Netherlands and Canadian Aaron Brown, Collins held a younger Michael Rodgers to the line with both athletes timed at 10.11. Chijindu Ujah of Great Britain took the third spot at 10.12.

Silva cruised to an easy victory and world leading height of 4.84m in the women’s pole vault, bettering the performances of Katerina Stefanidi of Greece and Nicole Buchler of Switzerland at 4.77m.

Other Caribbean results came from Christine Day of Jamaica and Cleopatra Borel of Trinidad and Tobago. Day finished second in the women’s 400m to equal her season best of 51.09 and Borel threw the shot put at a season best 18.78 to finish third in the order.

Kimberly Williams of Jamaica managed a fourth finish in the women’s triple jump (14.36), with compatriot Shanieka Thomas in seventh (13.88); Tyrone Smith of Bermuda (8.18) and Damar Forbes of Jamaica (8.07) finished fourth and sixth respectively in the men’s long jump and Kaliese Spencer cold only managed seventh (55.96) in the women’s 400m hurdles.

American English Gardner won the women’s 100m final (11.02) as Simone Facey of Jamaica (11.24) and Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago (11.48) finished sixth and eighth respectively.

The distance runners brought the thousands of spectators at Alexander Stadium to their feet with Olympic champions David Rudisha and Mo Farah smashing meet records and claiming world leading times.

Rudisha clocked 1:13.10 (AR, WL, DLR, MR) to win the 600m while Farah concluded the meet with an impressive 7:32.62 (WL, NR) to win the 3000m.

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