Ayre positive about Jamaica’s 400m men
Former national senior 400 metres representative Sanjay Ayre has high hopes for Jamaica's men at the Budapest World Championships, which will begin on Saturday.
Ayre, the three-time World Championships relay medallist with silver in 2001 in Edmonton and 2003 in Paris and bronze in 2005 in Helsinki, thinks either Sean Bailey or Antonio Watson can be among the medals in the one-lap event.
He is also confident that the 4x400 metres relay team can challenge the United States of America (USA) for the gold medal.
"I am very pleased with the young crop of guys who will represent the country in Budapest in the 400 metres. I saw Sean Bailey twice in action this season, and he looks good. I think Antonio Watson, who was a 200 metres sprinter and who has now moved up to the 400 metres, has displayed great ability here, and he is a very composed athlete," said Ayre in a recent interview with STAR Sports.
Ayre was not daunted and was confident about the chances of the Jamaicans, despite defending champion Michael Norman of the USA and former champions Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas, Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa and Kirani James of Grenada contesting the one-lap event.
"As someone who has competed in the event at the championships, what happens before means nothing as everyone will start from zero at the championships. It will all come down to execution and who wants it more," said Ayre.
"I saw Watson when he defeated James recently in Los Angeles, and I was very pleased with his confidence and the way he executed the race in beating James, last year's silver medallist. That run would have given him confidence ahead of the championships," continued Ayre.
He also highly rated Zandrion Barnes, the other Jamaican who will contest the event.
"I think Zandrion is developing well in the event and looks good for the future and will try to get as far as he can at the championships. Reaching the final will do him a great deal for the future," he stated.
Ayre, a businessman and a coach in Maryland, favours the chances of Jamaica in the mile relay.
"We have always done well in the 4x400 metres relay, and I think we have the bodies this year to challenge the USA for the gold medal in the event," he stated confidently.
The first round of the men's 400 metres will get under way on day two, on Sunday at 3:25 a.m. Jamaica time. The preliminary round of the 4x400 metres relay will be contested on Saturday, August 26, the penultimate day of the Championships, at 12:50 p.m. Jamaica time.