At 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.
United trailed to goals from Andros Townsend and Patrick van Aanholt before Chris Smalling gave the visitors a lifeline.Romelu Lukaku equalised with 14 minutes remaining, setting the stage for Serbia midfielder Matic to notch his first goal for United since his move from Chelsea last year.Mourinho admitted he was furious with his players’ lethargic first half performance and he tore into them, while demanding they show more tactical discipline.“I cannot tell you half of the things I told my team at half-time because there would be lots of bleeping on television,” Mourinho said.“There were a few strong words relating to their attitude and the intensity of the game.“What I can say was all about the tactical positioning. That second goal was a goal to show kids in academies around the country, to show that top players can concede silly goals.“David De Gea had to do better. He is the best, no doubt, but he had to do better.“But the intensity and character was fantastic. We got a bit of luck in the last minute but it was deserved.“The urgency in that last half hour was huge.”It was the first time United had come from 2-0 down to win a Premier League game since December 2013 at Hull.After hitting back from a goal down to beat Chelsea last weekend, Mourinho insisted this was another demonstration that United have the spirit and desire to overcome perilous predicaments.– Keep the faith –“We were losing to Chelsea last week, then we were losing away from home against a Palace team that needs points,” he said.Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic celebrates scoring the winner against Crystal Palace and his first goal for United since his move from Chelsea last year © AFP / Glyn KIRK“It’s very hard but we kept faith and belief.“I always believe we can win. I will be like that until my last day.“Some days more than others but after Smalling’s goal, I always thought it was possible.“Matic scored amazing goals like this when he was with me at Chelsea, at Goodison Park, against Benfica.”United’s stirring revival moved them back above Liverpool into second place in the Premier League.They trail runaway leaders Manchester City by 16 points, but Mourinho is more concerned with securing the top four finish that guarantees qualification for next season’s Champions League.“We want to finish second, but it is huge pressure for us to finish in the top four. Now we have a little pillow,” he said.Palace remain in the relegation zone, one point from safety, but Eagles boss Roy Hodgson urged his players not to let the heartbreaking defeat influence their fight for survival.“We took the game to Manchester United. If we had drawn the game – I don’t think anyone, Jose included – would have said it was a scandal,” he said.“We once again go away with no points and, like the game against Tottenham, I thought we deserved something.“But you always know the quality they possess and the strength and depth they have. They can cause problems.“Where we are in the table doesn’t enter my mind. It would have been nice to have two more points, but we still would have been very much in a relegation battle.“It could well go down to the wire.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (2L) admitted he was furious with his players’ lethargic first half performance against Crystal Palace © AFP / Glyn KIRKLONDON, United Kingdom, Mar 6 – Jose Mourinho revealed his expletive-filled half-time rant inspired Manchester United’s dramatic 3-2 win over Crystal Palace.Mourinho’s side fought back from two goals down at Selhurst Park to snatch the points thanks to Nemanja Matic’s blistering long-range strike in stoppage-time.