MACHEL CEDENIO confirmed his status as one of the world’s foremost 400 metre runners yesterday, taking the gold medal in his pet event with a typically dramatic finish at the IAAF Diamond League Grand Prix meet in Stockholm, Sweden.
Just weeks before the World Athletics Championships in Beijing, the lanky southerner, still two months short of his 20th birthday, has stamped his name firmly among the few of the quality to challenge Olympic champion Kirani James for one lap sprint gold.
In the process, Cedenio, the Pan Am Games silver medallist also exacted revenge on the Dominican Republic’s Luguelin Santos, who had beaten him to the Pan Am gold in Toronto.
What made his victory the more remarkable was the fact that despite falling way behind the leaders at 300 metres, Cedenio was the only athlete to finish under 45 seconds.
One of only two TT athletes who competed in Stockholm, Cedenio appeared initially to be out of medal contention.
When the runners cleared the final turn, the World Junior champion, running in lane five, was second-to-last; Jamaican Rusheen Mc Donald (lane 6) and Santos (lane 8) were leading the pack home.
Cedenio then began to accelerate, passing athlete after athlete, almost as though they were stationary. He crossed the line first, in 44.97 seconds; Santos followed, almost a quarter of a second behind in 45.21, while Britain’s Martyn Rooney took the bronze in 45.41.
Victory for the TT quarter-miler came in just his second appearance in the Diamond League; he was sixth in New York on June 13 in 45.89, just behind countryman Renny Quow (5th, 45.57) in a race won by South African Wayde Van Niekerk (44.24).
Van Niekerk heads the Diamond League Men’s 400m points standings with eight; Cedenio is now tied for second with Bahamian Steven Gardiner, on four; Americans La Shawn Merritt and David Verburg are next, on three points each.
Defending World and Olympic Champion Kirani James has not appeared in the Diamond League since finishing second (44.17) behind Van Niekerk (43.96) in Paris on July 4.
Meanwhile, Pan Am Games gold medallist Cleopatra Borel finished down the field in the Women’s Shot Put, sixth of eight competitors with a best throw of 18.25 metres. Germany’s Christiana Schwanitz (20.13) claimed the gold, while American Michelle Carter (19.24) and Hungary’s Anita Marzon (18.74) took the minor placings.
Jamaica’s World and Olympic sprint champion, Shelly Ann Fraser- Pryce won the Women’s 100 metres in 10.93 seconds; American Tori Bowie (11.05) took the silver and Pryce’s compatriot Natasha Morrison (11.22) got the bronze.
The Diamond League series now takes a break for the World Championships, which open on August 22 in Beijing, China.