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Kirani James beats Merritt in world leading 43.74

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (CMC) – Grenadian sensation Kirani James streaked to victory on Thursday at the Athletissima Diamond League meet in the fifth fastest 400 metres of all time, setting a new national and meet record and scoring another crucial win over nemesis Lashawn Merritt.

On a serene evening at the Stade de la Pontaise, the 21-year-old led from the start, dominating the one lap to cross the line in 43.74 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year.

“I wanted to come out and give my best. The conditions were perfect, I'm very happy with my run,” the reigning Olympic and former World champion said.

“A national record is always something to be proud of. It was overall a very good field. LaShawn was strong and he pushed me. I feel I’m in top shape and I’d like to carry this form to the Commonwealth Games.”

James looked in imperious form as he burst from the blocks to take the lead and set the pace in the event. He came off the final turn level with Merritt but produced a burst in the stretch to which the American had no answer. He was forced into second in a season-best 43.92.

The victory was James's second straight over Merritt following his triumph at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meet in Eugene in May.

James holds a 7-5 advantage in head-to-head meetings with Merritt.