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World Championships

LaShawn Merritt looks on course to defend World title

World 400 metres champion LaShawn Merritt believes he is well on course to defend his World Championships title in Beijing, China, in August.

Heading into the championships season, Merritt had already won a berth to the IAAF Worlds so he had the advantage of taking the time to schedule his preparations so he can be at his best for Beijing.

And the American proved that his developments are right on schedule after he ran a seasonal best time of 44.36 to win the men’s 400m title at the Track Town Classic in Edmonton, Canada on Sunday.

The 29-year-old looked quite smooth over the opening 200m before holding his form in the home straight as he pulled away from the field.

Grenadian Bralon Taplin was second in 45.28, with third going to Americans Aldrich Bailey in 45.36 and Jeremy Wariner, fourth in 45.42.

Sunday’s victory saw Merritt improving on his previous 2015 best of 44.43 secs.

He, however, just missed his own TrackTown Classic record of 44.30, which was set at last year’s meet.

“It was a good race,” he said, before adding, “I wanted to come here and run fast, but unfortunately I missed the record.”

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Merritt is now the fastest USA quarter-miler in 2015, taking over from American champion David Verburg (44.41).

He, however, is expected to go much faster than that at the world championships where he will take on the likes of world leader Isaac Makwala of Botswana, Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada, South Africa record holder Wayde van Niekerk.

Bahamian new record holder Steven Gardiner, who has been in impressive form thus far this season after breaking Chris Brown’s national record with a time of 44.27 at the Bahamas Championships earlier this month will also be another youngster to the watch at the world championships

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