By Gary Smith, World-Track

BERLIN — Reigning World champion Jeremy Wariner said he is definitely ready to defend his 400 metres world title, despite being the underdog heading into the start of the event.

Wariner, who won the title two-years-ago in Osaka, was defeated by fellow countryman Lashawn Merritt at the Olympic Games in Beijing last summer, but after returning to his longtime coach Clyde Hart, the American is confident he can defend his crown.

"After the season I had last year, it’s really important for me to come here and defend my title," Wariner said.

"A lot of people are counting me out, expecting me to take silver. My expectations are to come in here and defend my title the best I can."

Many believe Wariner’s split with Hart last year cost him the Olympic crown, but he has already put that aside, adding that he and Hart are having even more fun this time around.

"For me to go back and ask him to be my coach once again was real difficult," he said. "We’ve actually had more fun this year than we have in our whole career as coach-athlete."

The start of the men’s 400 metres will be on Tuesday with World leader Merritt, Wariner and the Bahamian Chris Brown all in action.

The three are expected to be the front runners for the medal placings.

Brown will race in heat three, Merritt in four and Wariner goes in six.

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