Athletes tune-up for IAAF World Indoors

By BRENT STUBBS Senior Sports Reporter bstubbs@tribunemedia.net QUARTERMILER Chris 'Fireman' Brown, high jumper Donald Thomas and sprinter Chandra Sturrup all competed at the Aviva Grand Prix as a tune-up for the IAAF World Indoor Championships set for next month in Istanbul, Turkey. On Saturday in Birmingham, Brown produced the best showing with a second place finish in the men's 400 metres. He clocked 46.17 seconds to open his indoor season as he trailed Nigel Levine of Great Britain, who won the race in a personal best of 45.71. Brown's time was under the Worlds Indoor qualifying mark of 46.90 and it placed him 10th on the IAAF performance list for 2012. Grenada's world outdoor champion Kirani James heads the list with 45.19 and Grand Bahamian Demetrius Pinder sits in third place with 45.40. The two went head-to-head in Fayetteville, Arkansas on February 11. On the field, Thomas ended up in a two-way tie for fourth place with Peter Horak of Slovakia after they both cleared 2.20 metres or 7-feet, 2 1/2-inches. Robbie Grabarz of Great Britain won with a leap of 2.32m (7-7 1/4). Thomas' performance was just off the season's best of 2.24m (7-4 1/2) he posted in Fayetteville on February 11. It was also shy of the World's Indoor qualifying height of 2.29m (7-6). So far, Trevor Barry, last year's bronze medallist at the IAAF World Outdoors, has gone over the qualifying mark after he soared 2.30m (7-6 1/2) on Valentine's Day. Russians Andrey Silnov and Aleksey heads the performance list at 2.36m (7-8 3/4) and 2.35m (7-8 1/2) respectively. Back on the track in Birmingham, Sturrup had to settle for fifth in heat two in 7.30, just behind Jamaican Aleen Bailey in 7.28. The time was under the Worlds Indoor qualifying time of 7.35. Neither qualified out of the heat that saw Ivet Lalova of Bulgaria take the tape in 7.23 and pulled Tameka Williams of St Kitts (7.27) and American Candyce McGrobe (7.28) as qualifiers for the final. In the final, American Tianna Madison, winner of heat one in 7.11, won in 7.07, well ahead of Lalova, who was second in 7.14. Sturrup, the 41-year-old national record holder has ran the fastest time by any Bahamian so far. Another veteran, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie, 36, has ran 7.33 in a meet in New York on February 11. Brown, Thomas and Sturrup were the only three Bahamians to compete in the meet which serves as a tune up for the World Indoors that is set for March 9-11 in Istanbul.


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