2014 Commonwealth Games: Olympic champ James advances as Warner shines
Glasgow: Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada progressed smoothly to the semi-finals of the men`s 400m at the Commonwealth Games on Monday, winning his heat in 45.52 seconds.
Arguably the performance of the morning session, however, belonged to Canadian decathlete Damian Warner, who produced a blistering 10.29sec in the opening 100m of the two-day 10-discipline event.
The Games record and personal best gave Warner, the reigning world bronze medallist, a massive 1,025 pts to kick off his campaign.
England`s John Lane and South African Willem Coertzen were next fastest with 10.71 and 10.88sec, the only other decathlete to dip under the 11sec barrier being Welshman David Guest.
Lane followed up on his 100m personal best with another in the second event, the long jump, managing a best of 7.50m at his second attempt. Warner leapt out to the exact same distance to consolidate his lead on 1960pts from Lane`s 1861.
England`s Ashley Bryant led the long jump field with 7.56m.
In heats for the one-lap race, with the semi-finals on Tuesday and final on Wednesday, there was no drama for Grenada`s 21-year-old James, who won at the London Games as a teenager but faded badly at the Moscow world championships.
He has refound some much-needed form, clocking 43.74sec in the Lausanne Diamond League, the season`s fastest time around one lap and the fifth fastest time ever run. Only four Americans, headed by Michael Johnson, have gone quicker.
At a sun-kissed Hampden Park, home to the Scotland international football team, James looked very comfortable in perfect running conditions.
Also advancing were Trinidad and Tobago trio Jarrin Solomon, 2009 world bronze medallist Renny Quow and Olympic bronze medallist Lalonde Gordon, while young South African hope Wayde van Niekerk and Botswana`s Isaac Makwala also looked in fine form.
Defending champion Mark Muttai of Kenya, a surprise winner in Delhi four years ago, finished fourth in 47.60sec and failed to advance.
But Bahamas veteran Chris Brown, 35, who made his Commonwealth debut in Manchester in 2002, won his heat comfortably in 46.30sec, as did teammate Latoy Williams.
The evening session at Hampden Park sees the semi-finals and finals in both the men and women`s 100m.
Jamaican sprinters, headed by Nickel Ashmeade and Veronica Campbell-Brown, will be bidding to fill the void left by Usain Bolt, the star draw having elected to only race the 4x100m relay in Glasgow.
Kemar Bailey-Cole and Jason Livermore.
Antigua`s Daniel Bailey, Richard Thompson and Keston Bledman of Trinidad and Tobago, England`s Adam Gemili and US-born Nigerian Mark Jelks, who has served a two-year doping ban, should all also be podium contenders.
In the women`s event, it was Nigerian Blessing Okagbare, who won long jump silver and 200m bronze at the 2013 world championships, who headed the qualifying times with 11.20sec.
But she will be under pressure from Jamaican heavyweights Campbell-Brown and Kerron Stewart, and Trinidad`s Michelle-Lee Ahye, fastest in the year this season.