By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
HE'S been the focus of attention for the men's side of the Bahamas athletic programme for the past two decades. But for the first time in his career, Chris 'Fireman' Brown will not be on the Bahamas' IAAF World Championship team.
The country's most decorated quarter-miler will not be making the trip to London, England this week for the championships that will be staged from August 4-13.
It's the first time since he started competing at the championships in 1999 in Seville, Spain, when he anchored the quartet of Timothy Munnings, Troy McIntosh and Carl Oliver to a sixth place finish in the men's 4 x 400m relay final, that Brown will be participating.
"I made the team for the relay, which was the goal, but, mentally and physically, I decided that I was going to sit this one out, regroup and get ready for next year's Indoor Championships," he said.
"Next year will be my final year of athletics. I will make a nice announcement. It ain't over yet. I still have one more World Indoors left in the tank and then we will see how it goes for the Commonwealth Games."
Brown, at 38, has never won an individual medal at the World Championships or the Olympic Games, but he's been the centrepiece of every 4 x 400m relay team that has ascended the medal podium.
When the IAAF World Championships is held in Birmingham, United Kingdom, next year, Brown will be going after his sixth individual medal in the 400m, adding to the gold he won in Doha in 2010, silver in 2014 in Sopot, Poland, and bronze in Moscow, Russia in 2006, Valencia, Spain in 2008 and Istanbul, Turkey in 2012.
"The World Indoors next year will be my final appearance," Brown said. "I will be saying farewell after that. Next year is definitely going to be it for me.
"I don't mind. When I go out there to perform, I like to give it 100 or 200 per cent. If I can't give 200 per cent, I don't feel like going out there and just giving 75 per cent. For me, it's all or nothing."
Although he ran at the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations' Nationals in June where he placed sixth in 47.01 seconds in Grand Bahama, Brown said he knew at the beginning of the year that this maybe a year of transition for him.
"I was back and forth on the issue of whether or not I would be going to the World Championships," he said. "It's not something that just spring up. At the beginning of the season, I was contemplating whether I would go or just rest my body.
"I've been going for the last 20 years straight and my body hasn't had a chance to recover fully and every year it's one major event or the other. If I can't give 100 or 200 per cent, I don't want to go at all."
The former national record holder spent the beginning of the year assisting the Local Organising Committee for the inaugural Grenada Invitational and subsequently, he missed the IAAF World Relays at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium in April because he felt he wasn't in "tip top" shape.
While he will not be suiting up in London, Brown said the Bahamas still has a capable team, led by Steven Gardiner, and including Michael Mathieu and Ramon Miller with Alonzo Russell, Kendrick Thompson and Ojay Ferguson in the pool.
"I think it's a good young strong team," he said. "If the guys can put their heads together and move as a unit, I think they should be alright. But if they don't, divided we fall.
"Hopefully, with the multiple medalists on the team, they should be able to handle it. I think they have a good chance of making the final. Once they do, anything could happen. They could go for a medal."
If they do, it will be the first time Brown won't be a part of any celebrations.