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.
5. Sami Khedira – Real Madrid – Click the arrow for more – It is no real secret that Sami Khedira is a wanted man, with a handful of clubs having reportedly shown interest in him during the summer months. As such the German international remained at Real Madrid, although his lack of game time and a new deal has lead to suggestions that he could be on the move in January instead. 6 With the winter transfer window approaching, clubs and players will be looking to the period as the perfect opportunity to freshen up their seasons.As such, here are a collection of stars who have been tipped to move in January.Click the arrow for more. 4. Andre-Pierre Gignac – Marseille – Click the arrow for more – Despite bagging 11 goals in 15 games this season, the Frenchman looks increasingly likely to be on his bike in the not too distant future. Liverpool are just one of the clubs linked with a move for Gignac, given their desperate need for quality striking reinforcements. 6 3. Petr Cech – Chelsea – Click the arrow for more – Chelseas former number one has seen his career turned upside-down following the full-time arrival of Belgian sensation Thibaut Courtois. Given Jose Mourinhos preference for the youngster, Cechs 10 year Chelsea association has been thrown into doubt, with suggestions that the Czech international could be on the move in January. Both Liverpool and Arsenal have been linked with moves for the classy operator. 2. Ron Vlaar – Aston Villa – Click the arrow for more – Aston Villas slow implosion is painful for all of the clubs fans to see and according to reports that could get even more unbearable, with captain Ron Vlaar tipped with an exit. The Dutchman is out of contract at the end of the season, but there are strong suggestions that the club would rather cash-in for what they can in January, rather that lose him for nothing. Manchester United are just one side linked with Vlaar, although expect that list to grow. 6 6. Lukas Podolski – Arsenal – Click the arrow for five more stars who could be on the move in 2015 – The German international looks to be growing increasingly frustrated at his lack of game time this season, going as far as commenting that unless his playing situation improves he might have to start looking for a new club. Recent quotes from Germany boss Joachim Low that his international future may be under threat will likely kick-start Podolskis search, with strong suggestions that he will return to the Bundesliga, although a switch to Turkey has also been mooted. 6 6 6 1. Juan Mata – Man United – The Red Devils former club record signing, Mata has struggled to consistently light up the United attack during his 11 months with the club. A rapid transition from playmaker to squad player has affected his form and it has now been suggested that he could be on the move yet again. Should he leave Old Trafford, a move back to Spain seems the likeliest outcome.