EUGENE, Oregon, CMC – Grenadian 400 metres World champion Kirani James was disqualified for a false start as Caribbean athletes suffered miserable fortunes at the 38th Prefontaine Classic event here Saturday.
Running out of lane three, the 19-year-old was called for the false start and officials subsequently removed his starting blocks before James asked to run under protest.
At the second time of asking, James chased down American Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt to finish second but the disqualification was upheld and he was unplaced.
This meant that Bahamian Christopher Brown was moved up to second place in a time of 45.24 with American Angelo Taylor third in 45.5.
Merritt was clocked at 44.91 seconds.
Afterward, James appeared unfazed by the development.
“It happens. I’d rather it happen here than at the big one,” he said of the false start.
His luck was no different to many of the other Caribbean athletes on show as the regional failed to make an impact on the Diamond League meet.
Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade was outstanding in clocking 9.93 seconds in the men’s 100 metres but was forced to settle for second behind American Justin Gatlin who clocked 9.90.
In the 200 metres, Jamaican Marvin Anderson clinched third in 20.74 seconds as American Wallace Spearmon won in a time of 20.27.
The Trinidadian pair of Emmanuel Callender (20.97) and Richard Thompson (21.30) finished sixth and seventh respectively.
Olympic bronze medallist Leevan Sands of the Bahamas finished fourth in the triple jump with a mark of 16.99 metres while World champion Christian Taylor of the United States clinched victory with a leap of 17.62.
In the women’s 400 metres, Novlene Williams-Mills of Jamaica was beaten into third spot by Jamaica-born American Sanya Richards-Ross who crossed the line in 49.39 seconds.
Williams-Mills, who finished in 49.78, defeated Richards-Ross at the Jamaica Invitational in Kingston last month.