Chris Brown makes it to the 400m semis
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Aug 12, 2013
MOSCOW, Russia – Chris ‘The Fireman’ Brown always seems “to pick up his game” when he is required to the most.
Despite coming into these 14th International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships in Moscow, Russia, as a third place finisher at the national championships, Brown was the only Bahamian quarter-miler to make it through the opening round heats as he qualified for tonight’s semis, in 45.39 seconds.
Brown finished third in his heat and in a three-way tie for 12th overall in the heats on Sunday morning. It certainly doesn’t get any easier for him though, as he will run out of lane eight in the second of three semi-final heats at 8:13 tonight in Moscow, 12:13 p.m. back in The Bahamas. In addition, he will have runners such as American LaShawn Merritt, Deon Lendore, from Trinidad & Tobago, and Jonathan Borlee, from Belgium, behind him. All three of those runners have run faster than Brown this year.
As for the heats, Brown said that he just wanted to run a comfortable race and ensure a lane in the semis, particularly after watching his teammates struggle in their heats of the men’s 400 meters (m).
“There was a lot of emotion out there, and adrenaline flowing. I know that the guys expected me to get out there and set the pace, but my goal was just to run a smart race and not use up too much energy,” said Brown yesterday. “Guys tend to come with their ‘A’ game when they face me in the heats and semis so I expected it to be a tough heat. I look forward to coming back in the semis, and turning it up a bit more. I feel pretty good, and I’m blessed and highly favored to be here.”
Four guys came into the tape at the same time in Brown’s opening heat. Olympic silver medalist, 19-year-old Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic, pushed ahead to win in 45.23 seconds, the other Borlee twin, Kevin, used a late surge to finish second, in 45.32 seconds, and Brown out-leaned Nigel Levine, of Great Britain, for third place – 45.39 seconds to 45.41 seconds. The top four finishers in each qualified for the semis, so all four runners were safe.
“Based on the way those guys have been competing, I knew that it would have came down to us four at the wire,” said Brown yesterday. “I just wanted to stay in the top four and get into the semis. I’ll have to step on it for tomorrow night, and hope for the best. There’s no doubt that I have to come with it, and I intend to,” he added.
In terms of time, Brown has been the third fastest Bahamian this year, following Ramon Miller’s 44.93 seconds and Michael Mathieu’s 45.21 seconds, but the Bahamian national record holder said that it’s all about staying healthy and performing when it matters the most.
Being all the way out there on an island by himself, in lane eight, there is no doubt that he will have to get out fast, set the pace, come off strong off the curve, power down the straight away, and push through the tape. In other words, he’ll have to run it like it’s a final, which he said that he is certainly prepared to do.
One thing that Bahamians have learned over the years, is to never doubt Brown. The 35-year-old veteran seems to step up on the world’s biggest stage. He’s made three of the past four world championships finals in the event, and two straight Olympic finals. Over that span, he has four fourth place finishes and one fifth place finish.
With Ramon Miller and LaToy Williams falling in the heats, Brown knows that it is up to him to carry the banner in one of The Bahamas’ best individual events, and the cagey veteran certainly appears up to the task.