400 Meters Event Looms as Invitational Feature
By Fred Sturrup
The Nassau Guardian
April 09, 2013
At the outset, the 400 meters (m) for men is looking like the feature event for the historic Chris Brown Bahamas Invitational (CBBI), scheduled for Saturday, April 13 at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. Marquee world quarter-milers will be competing. The finest open specialist over the distance in the world today, Grenada's Kirani James, will be there. He is the reigning World and Olympic Champion for the 400m. Also slated, are at least three of the 'Golden Knights', the Bahamians who won the 1,600m relay gold medal at the London Olympics last year.
Chris Brown, the promoter of the first invitational track and field event of this magnitude in The Bahamas, is not sure that he will be able to detach himself from organizing responsibilities to prepare for competition. However, his gold medal-run colleagues, Demetrius Pinder, Ramon Miller and Michael Mathieu, will be in the field. It's an elite field this early in the outdoor season and a quality time is expected. It's possible too, given Pinder's background of early season excellence, that an upset could be in the cards.
I recall just a bit over a year ago, the 2012 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Indoor Championships, held in Istanbul, Turkey. Pinder dominated James rather easily. Indoor track events are not totally comparable to those staged outdoors. The environments are not quite the same and require different tactics. Conditioning is always the key though in either case. Last March 9-10 at the World Indoors, Pinder was in prime form. He captured the silver medal, while James floundered to sixth place.
Pinder (45.54) finished second to Costa Rica's Nery Brenes (45.11) while James ended up sixth in 46.21, far out of the medals. Brown (45.90) captured his third indoor bronze medal at the event, as well. The Caribbean has indeed become quite dominant in the 400m. James leads the pack, but this is early season and Pinder's territory. It will be an interesting race. American LaShawn Merritt, who was dethroned by James, is also set to make an appearance on the track during the CBBI. He will be running the 200m however and not continuing the rivalry with James.
He (2008) and James (2012) won the last two Olympic gold medals for the 400. In between, James defeated Merritt at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships in 2011. A James/Merritt match-up would have been a classic encounter, but, that was not to be this early in the season. The 400m field with James and the Knights on the track figures to be quite exciting nevertheless.
As for James, Merritt and our gang, how they do at the CBBI should give a good indication of what is to come at the IAAF World Outdoor Championships this August in Moscow, Russia.