American sprint icon explains what makes Canada's Christopher Morales special as he breaks Fred Kerley's record

American sprint icon explains what makes Canada's Christopher Morales special as he breaks Fred Kerley's record

Mark Kinyanjui 15:00 - 20.05.2024

The teenage speedstar broke Fred Kerley's six-year Southeastern Conference outdoor championships record last weekend.

Retired American sprinting great Justin Gatlin has expressed his admiration for Canadian 400m sprinter Christopher Morales, highlighting the qualities that make the young athlete special.

 Morales, a 19-year-old from Vaughan, Ontario, has had a remarkable breakout season, breaking multiple records and making waves in the track and field world.

On Saturday, Morales ran a world-leading time of 44.05 seconds to win the men's 400-metre event at the Southeastern Conference (SEC) outdoor championships.

 This time not only broke Tyler Christopher's 2005 Canadian record of 44.44 seconds but also surpassed reigning Olympic 100m silver medallist Fred Kerley's meet record of 44.09 seconds from 2017. Additionally, Morales set new records for his school and the facility.

Morales' performance was faster than the 44.22 seconds run by Antonio Watson, which won the Jamaican gold at last year's World Championships. 

This victory added to his impressive resume, as he entered the event as both the SEC and NCAA national 400m indoor champion, having set a Canadian record and all-time best mark of 44.49 seconds at the SEC indoor championships in February.

Speaking on his Ready-Set-Go podcast, Gatlin praised Morales, explaining the attributes that make him stand out. "This is why you put him at the top of the list of the RSG watch list," Gatlin said.

 "He is showing us exactly how to bounce back. He is an emotional runner, and I hope he identifies that, realizes it, and uses it to his advantage. He needs to figure out how to summon that special quality and intelligence he has inside of him and use it as a weapon when he steps on the track."

Gatlin noted that Morales had a sub-par performance at the World Relays, where he struggled in the 4x400m relay. However, he bounced back at the SEC championships, dropping an impressive 44.05 seconds. 

Gatlin shared insights from an interview with Morales, who mentioned the challenges of balancing travel, competing, and academic pressures.

 Despite these hurdles, Morales' disappointment at the World Relays fueled his determination, leading to his record-breaking performance.

"It reminded me of another similar interview he had indoors when he broke the world record," Gatlin continued. 

"He basically said indoors that he had COVID, didn't know what he was going to do, and just went for it. Now, he said he didn't like the way he performed in the Bahamas and was upset. 

He showed the world he can still get it done, so he goes and drops a nasty record of 44.05 for a world-leading time, meet record, and personal best. So, shout out to him."

Christopher Morales' resilience and exceptional talent have undoubtedly made him a rising star in the track and field world, and with continued support and determination, he is poised for even greater achievements.

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