ST JOHN’S, Antigua – National sprinter Daniel “Bakka” Bailey opened his 2013 season on Saturday, clocking a personal best of 49.5 in the 400 metres heat of the Camperdown Classic in Jamaica.
The Antiguan, who finished third in his event, said it was a good start to his season and he is confident going forward.
“I was a bit nervous, but I knew that my fitness level was extremely high and I think I underestimated my fitness level while I was running because what happened is that I got off to a good start and was strolling down the back-straight and realised that I was soaring and feeling strong; but then I started picking up speed at the wrong time,” he said.
“The last 40 or 50 metres, my two team-mates passed me and I finished third; but at the end of the day, I came out injury free, I finished the race and I got a personal best, so I am happy.
The track athlete, who said his training has been focussed around speed building and endurance, said he is still not contemplating taking on the 400 metres for any World or Olympic events.
“I am doing the 400 only for training and to get strength for the 200 and the 100 metres. When I had ran 9.91 as a personal best (last year) I had ran 51 plus in a 400m and I never ran an official 400m; so I am just doing the math now. I am running stronger, faster and I am better. So hopefully, when it comes to my events which is the 100 and the 200m, they (my times) are going to drop gradually,” Bailey said.
The athlete, who is looking to rebound from a sub-par performance last season, said he would turn his attention to the Gibson Games slated for March in Jamaica where he will take part in both the 400m and 4x100m relay.
The 400m finals was taken by Usain Bolt who kicked off his sprint season by making a rare appearance in the event and finishing in 46.74 seconds.
Bolt, who has back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the 100, 200, and the 4x100m relay, overtook Allodin Fothergill in the homestretch to win his heat.
Bolt’s biggest rival, Yohan Blake, ran 46.64 in a separate heat, finishing second to Warren Weir, the 200m Olympic bronze medalist, who finished in 46.23.