400m king hits form ahead of Rio

7 Days in Dubai - - SPORT -

44.08 Kirani James’ time was the fastest so far in 2016

Kirani James let the rest of the world know that he’s still the man to beat in the 400 me­tres. The de­fend­ing Olympic cham­pion broke the Drake Re­lays record with a sea­son-lead­ing time of 44.08 sec­onds. Gre­na­dian James beat Amer­i­can LaShawn Mer­ritt by 0.14 sec­onds and shaved over a quar­ter of a se­cond off the time he posted at a race in the Ba­hamas two weeks ago.

The per­for­mance only so­lid­i­fied James’ sta­tus as the early favourite in the 400m for the Olympic Games in Rio this Au­gust.

His time nearly matched the 43.94 he ran to win in London - and James still has three months to pre­pare.

“It just shows I’m in great shape. But it also shows how com­pet­i­tive the field is, that a time like that was what it was go­ing to take to win the ma­jor­ity of the races go­ing for­ward this year,” said James.

The time James posted was even more re­mark­able given the con­di­tions, with tem­per­a­tures hov­er­ing just be­low 50C.

The con­di­tions got to Mer­ritt, the 2008 Bei­jing Olympics cham­pion. He fin­ished 2015 ranked se­cond in the world and is hop­ing to be ready to push James by the Rio Games.

“I wanted to win the race. But I didn’t want to kill my­self,” said Mer­ritt. “My toes felt frozen. But I fin­ished up healthy.”

MAN TO BEAT: Kirani James won the 400m at the London Olympics

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