Derrick Atkins man to catch


Derrick Atkins just keeps getting faster and faster.

After posting the fastest preliminary time at the 2007 Adidas Track and Field Classic on Sunday afternoon, the Bahamian national record holder came back less than two hours later in the final, and ran the fastest time ever by a Bahamian male. Bahamians are at the point where they beam with pride and anticipation every time Atkins steps on to the track nowadays, and Sunday afternoon at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California, he certainly didn’t disappoint.

Atkins ran a blistering 9.86 seconds in the men’s 100 meters (m) to finish second behind rising American star Tyson Gay, who himself was equally impressive in 9.79 seconds. Only one problem: The wind reading for the event was over the allowable 2.0 meters per second (mps), as it was listed as 2.5 mps.

Nevertheless, wind-aided or not, no one can argue that it will go down as one of the more impressive runs ever by a Bahamian male sprinter, and many are predicting that the mission is just beginning for world leader, Derrick Atkins.

Atkins has positioned himself as the ‘man to catch’ heading into the International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Outdoor Championships in Osaka, Japan in August, but world record holder Asafa Powell from Jamaica (9.77 seconds) is yet to step onto the track. In an event which saw notable track stars such as Olympic gold medalist and three-time World Champion, Maurice Greene, and Trinidadian Marc Burns just to name a couple, Gay and Atkins were the only two sprinters to run under 10 seconds. Finishing third was Steve Mullings from Jamaica in a time of 10.02 seconds.

As for Eleuthera native Chris Brown, it wasn’t the start he was expecting to have over the weekend, but after coming into the season very late, a second place finish in the men’s 400m behind the event’s world leader gave the World Championships’ hopeful something to smile about. Brown clocked a time of 45.10 seconds to finish behind World and Olympic Champion Jeremy Wariner of the United States in 44.60 seconds. Third place went to Jamaica’s Sanjay Ayre in 45.25 seconds.

Brown is one of several elite athletes training under coach Steve Riddick, who opened their season late. Many are still awaiting a season opener from World and Olympic Champion, and Bahamian national record holder in the women’s 400m, Tonique Williams-Darling. It was rumored that she would have opened her season at either the Jamaican Invitational, held several weeks back, or the Adidas Track and Field Classic over the weekend, but neither happened.

Holding steady on the circuit for Bahamian women in the meanwhile, is Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie. She competed in the 200m at the Adidas Classic, but the result of her race was unavailable up to press time.

Strong woman Laverne Eve was the sole competitor for The Bahamas at a Brazilian Grand Prix meet, held in Belem, Brazil on Sunday. Competing in her specialty, the javelin throw, Eve had a best heave of 55.71m to finish fourth. Winning the event was Kim Kriener, of the United States, with a throw of 60.56m, second place went to Alessandra Resende, from Brazil with a toss of 58.43m and Sonia Bisset of Cuba was third with a throw of 57.46m. After two meets on the IAAF World Athletics Tour, Eve is in a two-way tie for sixth place with Laura Crawford of Australia with seven points.

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I’m not sure if this is correct but someone on one of the track and field news forums claimed that Atkins was born in Jamaica and is Powell’s cousin. This might be a joke and sounds like the story of another sprinter-the junior who just ran a excellent 100 (name escapes me) a few weeks ago who actually is Powell’s cousin.

I am pretty sure that is the same person, Pioneer. He ran a great time a few weeks ago and again this past week. Amazing for a guy who had a pr of 10.7-10.8 after his freshman year in college.

Do you know if this guy is still a junior athlete? The story I remember was about a guy still under age 20, I think.