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|Eleuthera's Chris Brown Wins Gold At Pan American Games|
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|Posted by:||Jul 28th 2007, 08:43:21 am|
|Fig Tree News Team||BRAZILIAN GOLD
By SHELDON LONGLEY, NG Sports Editor
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – In the words of Chris 'The Fireman' Brown, this gold medal is going all the way back with him to Wemyss Bight, Eleuthera.
Running out of lane five last night, with many of his top competitors behind him, Brown got out extremely fast and used his speed to come home in a season's best time of 44.85 seconds in the men's 400 meters (m) to win Pan Am Games gold for The Bahamas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It was the first gold medal for team Bahamas at these 15th Pan American Games, and third overall, as it came right on the heels of a stunning silver medal from Christine Amertil in the women's 400m finals.
For Brown, it was the most prestigious individual medal that he has ever won at a meet of this caliber, and he is relishing every moment of it. This was just the second time this season that he ran under 45 seconds, and it was also just four-tenths of a second off the national record, 44.45 seconds, which is also the Pan Am Games' record.
"First all I would just like to give thanks to the Lord - He allowed me to come here and run against a strong field and just blow them all away. I feel good," he said excitedly. "I don't think it really hit me yet but I'm sure it will when I get out of here," he added.
Running out of lane four with Brown right in front of him, top qualifier Canadian Tyler Christopher, who beat Brown out for the bronze medal in the 2005 World Championships, got very slowly out of the blocks. He was later heard saying coming through the mixed zone that he thought someone had false started. He regrouped to finished second behind Brown in 45.05 seconds, but was visibly upset coming through the tunnel. Nevertheless, Brown executed perfectly to cross the finish line in first place, and wasn't letting anyone take anything away from his victory.
"I knew that I had a lot of speedsters behind me but my job was to execute on lane six and go after lane seven. I felt like I did that. When I got to the 200m mark, I just turned it on," he said. "I just went out there and said that if they wanted me they would have to come and get me. It feels good to come here and run that time. I know that at the World Championships, I'm going to have to be a lot faster and lot more aggressive, but I just wanted to take my time tonight and come out with the victory. I'm glad that I got it," he exclaimed.
The other Bahamian in the men's 400m final last night, Avard Moncur, finished sixth in 45.51 seconds. Running out of lane two, former World Champion Moncur sat in third place coming into the final 100 m, but got passed by three runners on the home stretch.
The distance between them at the tape was extremely close though. Chris Lloyd from Dominica settled for the bronze medal in 45.40 seconds, William Collazo finished fourth in a personal best time of 45.45 seconds, and former two-time World Indoor Champion, Alleyne Francique of Grenada, edged Moncur for fifth place in a season's best time of 45.49 seconds.
"I got out pretty good but I kind of fell flat at the last part of the race," said Moncur. "I had a pretty good series of quarters and I am pretty pleased. Right now, I just have to go back and work on a few things, and the World Championships will be a different story. I think Chris did a great job. He went out there ran well and came away with the gold medal. I'm very proud of him and this sets us up for the relay - we feel great about it," he added.
New Pan Am Games' gold medalist Brown is also optimistic about the 4 x 400 m relay.
"Oh we're not taking any prisoners at all," he said. "We had two guys in the final, and once we put the relay team together and we execute right, that should get the guys hyped up and motivated to come out and bring their best performance," he added.
For now, the spotlight is solely on Brown though, and his first individual gold medal at a meet at this caliber. However, he doesn't have much time as the heats of the 4 x 400m relay will be held tomorrow at the Joao Havelange Stadium here in Rio.
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