It was Saturday, March 1, that Jamaicans got a clear indication that the Class 3 400-metre record would most likely go at Champs this year. The record of 49.13s is a year old and was set by Kingston College’s Nathaniel Bann. When it was first set, I remembered thinking that it would last a few years because while things have been trending in the right direction in terms of 400-metre running over the past few seasons here in Jamaica, no Jamaican 14-year-old quarter-miler was ready yet to break 49 seconds. I am glad I was wrong.
So on that fateful Saturday, at the inaugural Corporate Area Development meet put on by Ricky Martin, we saw young Christopher Taylor, who was second in the Class 3 400m finals last year in 50.68, blitz a field of Class 3 runners by a city block to win his 400m heat in 48.54! That’s more than a half-second faster than Bann’s record and a month before Champs, and two second faster than he ran at Champs last year!
So as I prepared to take on Champs 2014, I am thinking I can’t wait to see young Taylor take on the record in the finals. The young man is this year so far ahead of his field in this event, the main interest was to see him run against the clock. Just how fast would he go?
Champs began on Tuesday and Taylor surprised us again. He didn’t wait for the finals. He simply got the distraction of the record out of the way and delivered 48.72s in the heats! This makes him the first Class 3 athlete ever to break 49 seconds at Champs. But he wasn’t done yet. After dropping jaws for the second time in a month, Taylor promptly told interviewers that he can go even faster; 48-seconds flat is his best guess. I, for one, can’t wait to see if he can actually go that fast in the finals.
It wasn’t that long ago that a certain Grenadian ran 46.9 for the 400m. Kirani James has since gone on to win Olympic and World titles and he is barely 21. Could Taylor be Jamaica’s version of the youngster from the Spice Island? We wait and see. In the meantime, Bann, who was miles ahead of Taylor last year, would be best advised to start looking over his shoulder.