Kirani James suffered a major upset in the IAAF World Indoor Championships finishing sixth in the last position in the Men’s 400 metres in Istanbul on Saturday.
James could not meet the challenge of running from lane one as Costa Rican Nery Brenes won in a championship with a world-leading time of 45.11 seconds. It was James’ first major defeat as he prepares for the London Olympic Games this summer. His time was 46.21 seconds.
Bahamians Demetrius Pinder and Chris Brown took silver and bronze in season-best times of 45.34 and 45.90 seconds, respectively. Tabarie Henry of the US Virgin Islands was fourth and Pavel Maslak of the Czech Republic fifth.
Brenes said that this victory was special to him since he was never considered a favourite in this championship. In recent indoor races he was twice disqualified and fell in a meet in Birmingham this season.
“It was hard when I fell in Birmingham but it helped me because nobody was thinking of me in this championship,” he said. “But I ran against Kirani, the great favourite, and I knew he was on the inside.”
“I said if you want to be a champion, you have to run like a champion, so I went out there and really ran the first 200m,” the new indoor champion said.
Brown, the defending champion, said he was happy to be among the medal winners.
“I came in to defend my title, it didn’t happen but I ran a season’s best,” he said. “There were only three medals and I got one.”
James said that his spirits are still high and is not daunted by Saturday’s defeat, and that he would continue to run indoors.
Now, it will be about “just training, the usual stuff,” James told the IAAF’s Syerramia Willoughby. “Don’t try to adjust to anything. Just believing in my coaches, believe in myself and get ready.”
By Michael Bascombe