Abrams, Springer confirmed for Women’s 400m at AP Invitational

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The 400m at this year’s AP Invitational, set for June 22 at the National Track and Field Centre, promises to be exhilarating, following the announcement of a stellar line-up featuring future stars of Guyana’s track and field alongside some of the best athletes in the region.

The women’s event will feature Olympian and national record-holder Aliyah Abrams, as well as Youth Commonwealth Games champion Tianna Springer.

Abrams’ time of 50.20s at the NACAC New Life Invitational not only secured her the win, but also broke Aliann Pompey’s previous national record of 50.71, set at the World Championships in Berlin, Germany, in 2009.

Although Abrams’ record-breaking performance was remarkable, she will need to replicate or improve it during the Olympic qualification period (July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024) to book her spot at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.

The Olympic qualifying time for the Women’s 400m event is 50.95s, and currently, Abrams’ season best stands at 51.93s.

Although Springer is not yet close to Olympic qualification for the Paris Games, pundits are eager to see the double gold medallist from the CARIFTA Games face tougher competition, especially since she remains undefeated in the 400m at local, regional and international championships.

Springer ended 2023 with the seventh-fastest time by an Under-18 athlete in the world, while her 52.31s at this year’s CARIFTA Games is currently the second-fastest Under-18 time globally.

The 17-year-old had a stellar 2023, winning the 400m at the CARIFTA Games and the South American U-20 Championship in Athletics, where she also broke the event’s record.

Additionally, she swept the Youth Commonwealth Games, winning Guyana’s first individual gold medal in the event’s history.

Colombia’s Melany Balono, Chinenye Onuorah of Thailand, and the Dominican Republic’s Milagros Duran are the overseas athletes, while Deshana Skeete, Kenisha Phillips, and Narissa McPherson are the other Guyanese competitors in the line-up.

On the men’s side, the competition features Arinze Chance, CARIFTA Games U-20 400m Champion Malachi Austin, and the Dominican Republic’s Lidio Feliz.

Chance, known for his 400m prowess during his collegiate career, recorded a personal best of 46.01s in 2019. His season’s best this year is 47.67s, achieved in April.

Austin is one of Guyana’s promising prospects in the 400m. His 46.35 seconds, which won him first place in the Men’s U-20 event at the CARIFTA Games this year, makes the 17-year-old the fourth-fastest Under-18 athlete in the world.

Feliz, along with Alexander Ogando, Marileidy Paulino, and Anabel Medina, finished second in the Tokyo Olympics 4x400m Mixed Relay with a time of 3:10.21, just behind Poland (3:09.87) and ahead of the USA (3:10.22).

Feliz again teamed up with Ogando, Paulino, and Fiordaliza Cofil to win the 4x400m Mixed Relay at the 2022 World Championships with a time of 3:09.82, beating the Netherlands (3:09.90) and the USA (3:10.16).

Feliz’s personal best is 44.26s, set in 2022, while his season’s best is 46.25s. Renny Quow, the 400m bronze medallist at the 2009 World Championships, is also part of the line-up. Quow, now 36, has had a stellar career, but has never qualified for the Olympics.

The Dominican Republic’s Nefer Santana and Wilbert Encarnacion are the other athletes registered in the 400m for this year’s AP Invitational.

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