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.
0Shares0000Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah was involved in controversy at Crystal Palace © AFP / Glyn KIRKLONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 21 – Mohamed Salah was engulfed in a diving storm as the Liverpool star won the controversial penalty that inspired their 2-0 win over 10-man Crystal Palace on Monday.Salah was accused of diving by Palace when he tumbled in the penalty area late in the first half at Selhurst Park. Referee Michael Oliver awarded a spot-kick for Mamadou Sakho’s challenge on the Egypt winger and James Milner converted the penalty.Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville, working for Sky Sports, claimed it was a dive, saying: “A lot of people won’t like it. If it’s against you, you’ll think it’s soft.“It is a theatrical fall which we’ve seen a lot of players do.”Adding insult to injury for Palace, Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off in the second half for bringing down Salah as he raced clear.Taking advantage of their numerical superiority, Jurgen Klopp’s side made sure of extending their 100 percent start to the Premier League season thanks to Sadio Mane’s goal in stoppage-time.Palace boss Roy Hodgson was furious with the penalty, saying: “My frustration is I don’t think that’s a penalty. It’s cause for anger and disappointment.“I’ve been in football a long time. If that’s a penalty the game has changed beyond all recognition.“Sakho is a defender and he has to try and defend.“There is no way he is looking to foul the player. Liverpool didn’t deserve to be leading.”Klopp side-stepped the diving row, claiming he hadn’t seen the incident clearly.“I didn’t ask Mo about that. I didn’t see it. It looked like it was (a penalty), but I have no idea,” he said.After Manchester City’s swaggering demolition of Huddersfield on Sunday, it was important for Liverpool to keep pace with the champions, even at this early stage of the season.This was a statement win for Klopp’s team, installed as City’s most likely challengers, and they move into second place after building on last weekend’s rout of West Ham.But Klopp refused to talk up Liverpool’s title chances.“I am not interested in sending statements to Manchester City or anyone else. I want to win football games,” he said.“I couldn’t care less really. We are not in a race with other Premier League teams each weekend.”Right from the start, Salah was in the thick of the action when he surged onto Naby Keita’s long pass, but the Egyptian’s chip sailed high over the bar.Andros Townsend came within inches of giving Palace the lead against the run of play when he cut in from the right flank and unleashed a superb 25-yard strike that cannoned off the crossbar.– ‘Cheat’ chants –Klopp’s men finally made the breakthrough just seconds before half-time.Roberto Firmino’s pass found Salah just inside the Palace area and when Sakho caught him with an out-stretched leg, the Egyptian’s slightly delayed tumble didn’t dissuade Oliver from giving the penalty.Salah has previous for diving and incensed Palace fans were quick to aim “cheat” chants at him, but there appeared just enough contact to warrant the spot-kick.Milner, ignoring the sound and fury, nervelessly sent Wayne Hennessey the wrong way with his spot-kick.After Wilfried Zaha’s run earned a second-half free-kick in a dangerous position, Palace captain Luka Milivojevic whipped the set-piece goalwards, only for Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker to make a superb save low to his left.Salah didn’t tire despite his prodigious work-rate and it was his blistering break that induced the lunge from Wan-Bissaka which triggered his red card.The young full-back, who had been left alone as the last line of defence, hardly made contact with Salah, but again Oliver ruled in Liverpool’s favour.As Palace threw men forward in the final moments, Senegal winger Mane put the result beyond doubt when he sprinted clear, rounded Hennessey and slotted home.“In these moments the fuel is really low and maybe the players need a bit of help from an angry manager — ‘run or I will kill you’ — and they did that,” Klopp smiled.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)