World champions: Christopher Taylor dismisses concerns over fitness levels

EUGENE, Oregon: Quarter-miler Christopher Taylor says he is in good shape to secure a spot in the men’s 400m final at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

There were questions about Taylor’s fitness level after he failed to finish in the top three at the Jamaica Grand Prix on June 26 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

The top three finishers in each event at the national trials qualified to be in Eugene provided they achieved the world standard.

Jevon Powell, the best in the quarter mile this season, proved too much for Anthony Cox and Nathon Allen to secure their first national title in a new season’s best 45.50.

However, Taylor – who finished seventh in 45.91 – was called up to the team as Cox fell short of the world standard.

And earlier today, Taylor accomplished his first goal in Eugene, making it out of the preliminary round.

“The goal was to come here and do enough to make the semi-finals and that’s what I did,” Taylor said after finishing second behind two-time US champion Michael Norman in the second race.

Taylor finished in 45.68. The easy-looking Norman won in 45.37 seconds.

The 24-year-old Norman has a golden opportunity on home soil to finally win the individual 400m title on the world stage.

Taylor said he executed his run to perfection.

“My technique was pretty good,” he said. “The goal was just to stay fresh for the first 60 meters, find a good position on the back, hold it from there and stay within four meters of Norman, and that’s what I did.”

The semifinals are scheduled for Wednesday, and Taylor has a good plan to get into the medal round on Friday.

“I just want to run faster than I did in the heat right now because it’s going to be a very tough semi-final.”

Taylor will face Norman again in the semifinals.

“I just have to prepare to do whatever it takes to get to the finals and that’s my goal,” Taylor said.

He explained his poor run at the national trials.

“I just got a big muscle contracture in my quad in the semis, but I had to go and run because they didn’t put me on the team,” Taylor said.

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