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Hubert Lawrence | When will Taylor go sub-45?

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first_imgAt the 2015 Carifta Trials, Akeem Bloomfield won the Under-20 400m with a stunning circuit of the National Stadium track in 45.41 seconds. The tall Kingston College prodigy went on to do great things. Just weeks later, at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, he set a national junior record of 44.93 seconds. History repeated itself last Sunday, as Christopher Taylor of Calabar won the 2017 Carifta Trials 400 metres in exactly 45.41 seconds. You can’t help but wonder if Taylor will join Bloomfield by running the Class One 400m final faster than 45 seconds. It’s an achievement some fans have been expecting for more than a year. The waiting began when Taylor won the World U18 title in Cali, Columbia with runs of 45.30 in the semi-final and 45.27 seconds in the final. Even though Cali is just on the high side of the IAAF altitude threshold of 1000 metres, sub-45 talk gathered substance. Things didn’t work out last year but that was last year. Taylor looks ready as he showed last week. First, he smiled his way to the finish in a midweek jaunt over 200m timed in 20.98 seconds to put a cherry topping on the Corporate Area Development Meet. That was his first race of the season. Then on Sunday, he capped an eventful Carifta Trials meet, with a zippy run in the 400m. If he does break the 45 second barrier, it probably won’t be in the final at Boys and Girls Championships. He and his coach prefer trying for records before the multiple rounds of Champs take their toll. He set the Class Three record of 48.70 seconds in the heats in 2014 and the Class Two record last year in the preliminary round. He broke the Class Two 200m record early as well. That strategy also helps Taylor to dodge the sprint-unfriendly breeze that typically sweeps up the grandstand straight on Champs Saturday at the time of the 400m finals. In 2014, Taylor’s former Calabar teammate Javon Francis carved a huge 0.35 second chunk off Usain Bolt’s 11 year-old Class One 400m record in front of a packed Champs Saturday crowd. Though pundits postulated that Francis’ mark of 45.00 seconds would last for donkey years, Bloomfield dazzled that same Saturday throng with his record run a year later. Be warned. Taylor doesn’t march to the same tune. Put this date and time in your diary. It’s March 28 at 6.45 pm. That’s when the first round of the Class One 400m is set to start. Nine will get you ten that Taylor will go for 44 at that time. Come to the 107th staging of the greatest high school championships in the world any later and you may miss it. One question remains. So, you rightly ask, if he misses it at Champs, when will he try again? The best guess would be on July 3. – Hubert Lawrence has made notes at track side since 1980.last_img read more

DONE DEAL! Burnley announce signing of Belgian midfielder Steven Defour

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first_img New Burnley signing Steven Defour Burnley have broken their transfer record to sign Belgian midfielder Steven Defour from Anderlecht.The 28-year-old, who has won 46 caps for his country, has joined the Premier League new boys for a fee of £7.5m and has penned a three-year deal.The deal eclipses the initial £6million the Clarets spent on striker Andre Gray last summer.“I hope I can bring my experience to the team and the club to stay in the Premier League,” said Defour.“I’m looking forward to every game. The atmosphere around the league is fantastic and everyone across the world has seen the Premier League, so I am very proud to be a part of that. “It is a new challenge for me, but I like that.” Defour is Burnley’s fourth signing of the transfer window, following Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Nick Pope and Jon Flanagan [loan] to Turf Moor.It is a welcome boost for manager Sean Dyche after his side lost their opening game back in the Premier League to Swansea on Saturday.Dyche has been searching for an experienced central midfielder since Joey Barton left for join Rangers earlier this summer.Defour has won titles in his homeland with Standard Liege and in Portgual with FC Porto and was part of Belgium’s 2014 World Cup squad.Dyche said of his new signing: “Steven was a target of ours and it’s been a hard deal to do, but we got there in the end. “He’s a good player with a depth of experience at international level and also Champions League. “Steven is new to the Premier League but has a real thirst and desire to be successful in this campaign.” 1last_img read more