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'My Main Focus Is To Get An Outdoor Individual Medal...'

By BRENT STUBBS Senior Sports Reporter bstubbs@tribunemedia.net CHRIS 'Fireman' Brown is eager to defend his 400 metre title at the 13th IAAF World Indoor Championships in Athletics next week in Istanbul, Turkey. Thirty four-year-old Brown is one of nine athletes expected to represent the Bahamas at the event which is set for March 9-11. "No pressure. No pressure at all," said Brown about defending the title he won in 2010 in Doha, Qatar. "I welcome challenge. If it doesn't happen, I can say I achieve my goal. "My goal was to get a world indoor title and I've done that. Now this will be a bonus, so I'm looking forward to it. I feel good and I thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity to still be around and be alive to represent my country." Thanking God for his blessings in a career that has spanned more than a decade on the international scene, Brown said he knows that he will be one of the favourites. "Even if I don't win, I will still be happy because it's only six lanes on the track and I'm going to make sure that I get one of them," he said. "I hope that I do what I do at my best, which is to represent our country at my best." Going into the championship, Brown is expected to have a stiff challenge from Grenada's Kirani James, the IAAF World Outdoor Championships' champion in Daegu, South Korea, last year. James, who emerged on the scene as the bright new young star, has ran the fastest time so far this year when he clocked 45.19 seconds to beat out Grand Bahamian Demetrius Pinder (45.40) in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In their only head-to-head meeting this year, James ran 45.52 to Brown's 46.68 in Stockholm. "He came up and came out real fast. I told him after the race was over in Stockholm that I will be looking for the re-match," Brown said. "He just looked and smiled. I was basically just testing the waters. This season, my main focus is the Olympic Games. My coach (Innocent Egbunike) is back and we're still working out in flats. We only ran in spikes in competition. So my training is going great." Brown, who has ran a season's best of 46.17 in Birmingham, said his focus is not so much on the Indoor Championships but rather the Olympic Games in August. "My main focus is to get an outdoor individual medal whether it's at the Olympics this year or the World Championships next year," he said. "That's the main focus." With the way that James burst on the scene last year, Brown anticipates that he will have to run in the low 44s in order to be in contention for a medal. But he said that his training has been very consistent with his coach. And he and Egbunike both believe in God so he feels they are on the right track. While Brown will get a chance to run with Pinder in the 400 in Turkey, they will also team up with Michael Mathieu, LaSean Pickstock and Jameison Strachan for the 4 x 400 relay. "The young guys are hungry. They haven't gotten a medal since Beijing so they are excited and ready to run," Brown said. "I told them let's not just go for the medal, let's go for the world record. "If we get the world record, the medal will definitely come. So our mission this year is to go for the world record. I've always had confidence in my team-mates and regardless of the combination, they all know how to step up to the plate. So we're going to be ready." Although the Bahamas has missed out on the medal hunt in the 4 x 4 relay in the last two international meets, Brown said the Bahamas is still the team to beat and they hope to prove that in Turkey.

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