by Michael Bascombe
Coverage courtesy “LIME-Value Every Moment”
ZURICH, Switzerland, August 28, 2013 (GrenadaSports) – Olympic 400 metres champion Kirani James of Grenada lost his world title to his rival American LaShawn Merritt in Moscow but both athletes will have a shot at another title this season – the 2013 IAAF Diamond Race.
The Men’s 400m title in the Diamond League series will be decided at the Weltklasse Zurich in the Letzigrund Stadium here on Thursday.
James, who snatched the world title from Merritt in Daegu in 2011, will be looking to rebuild his confidence after a dismal finish in Moscow. The Grenadian finished seventh in the final which saw Merritt regaining the title with a convincing win in a world leading and personal best of 43.74 seconds.
James heads the duel with a two-point advantage and the winner will snatch the $40,000 bonus, Diamond Race Trophy and bragging rights as the World’s Number One ranked quarter-miler.
“He’s a great guy, a great competitor and I know he will come back running strong,” said Merritt, after winning at the Diamond League Meeting in Stockholm last Thursday.
It will be James’ first outing since his Moscow meltdown and should be fully recovered from a stomach virus which reportedly affected his performance on race day in Moscow.
The scenarios for James and Merritt to take the Diamond Race are interesting. James must beat Merritt or finished third and Merritt does not win or finishes third or lower.
On the other hand, Merritt must win or finishes second and James is not among the top three finishers.
The competitive field will also include Olympic silver medallist Luguelín Santos of the Dominican Republic, Pavel Maslák of the Czech Republic, Belgian brothers Kevin and Jonathan Borlée, Nigel Levine of Great Britain and Youssef Masrahi of Saudi Arabia.
Barring injury and sickness, this should be a must see (9:20 p.m./3:20 p.m. ET) between the best quarter-milers in the world and reasons for Merritt and James to stamp their authority as the world’s number one.