Kirani James’s 44.36 victory in the 400m was among several world-leading performances at the Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational in Nassau on Saturday (16).
It was the second-fastest season’s debut for the Olympic champion from Grenada, who finished nearly a second ahead of Tony McQuay, who clocked 45.34. Jeremy Wariner, the 2004 Olympic champion, was third in 45.55.
Another world lead came in the women’s 400m courtesy of Shaunae Miller who brought the crowd at Nassau’s National Stadium to their feet as she cruised down the home straight en route to her 49.69 victory. It was the second-fastest performance of 22-year-old Bahamian’s career, only behind the 49.67 run that propelled her to silver at the IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015.
Quanera Hayes of the US, the bronze medallist at last month’s IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016, dipped under 50 seconds for the first time to finish second in 49.91.
Merritt improves to 19.78
Lashawn Merritt produced the most dominant performance as he powered off the bend en route to a 19.78 (0.9m/s) victory in the 200m, knocking 0.2 seconds from his previous career best that dated back to 2007. Merritt, the two-time world champion and 2008 Olympic gold medallist at 400m, moved up to 15th on the world all-time list for 200m in just his second race of the season.
His US compatriots Wallace Spearmon and Mike Rodgers were a distant second and third in 20.40 and 20.42 respectively.
There was also a world lead in the women’s contest, with Tori Bowie prevailing in 22.26 (0.3m/s) in her outdoor debut, over Natasha Hastings, who clocked a PB of 22.57. Bowie, the 100m bronze medallist at last year’s World Championships, came up just shy of her 22.18 career best from 2014.
In the meeting’s evening-capping event, Johnny Dutch of the US cruised to a 48.36 victory in the 400m hurdles, another world-leading performance. Javier Culson of Puerto Rico and Bahamian Jeffery Gibson were well back in 49.12 and 49.16 respectively.
On the infield, world and Olympic triple jump champion Christian Taylor made his season’s debut a notable one, prevailing with a 17.11m leap to win by just one centimetre over Troy Doris.
In other performances of note, Justin Gatlin took the 100m in a wind-assisted 9.90 (2.3m/s) ahead of Qatar’s Femi Ogunode, who clocked 9.94.
Harrison and Oliver prevail in close sprint hurdles contests
Queen Harrison passed Sharika Nelvis over the final hurdle to win a tight women’s 100m hurdles race 12.64 to 12.66 (2.6m/s), with Jasmine Stowers (12.74) third.
The men's 110m hurdles was just as close, with David Oliver prevailing by just 0.02 in a wind-assisted 13.30 (2.7m/s) over Aleec Wilson. Jason Richardson was third in 13.33 to complete the podium sweep for the US.
And in another close contest, just 0.04 separated the first four finishers in the women's 100m, won by Michelle-Lee Ahye in 11.14, with Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast second in 11.16. Two-time Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown edged Candyce McGrone for third, 11.17 to 11.18.
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF