LONDON - A time of 44.98 seconds placed Texas A&M sprinter Demetrius Pinder in seventh place of the Olympic 400-meter final on Monday evening.
The historic final netted 19-year-old Kirani James the first Olympic medal for Grenada when he set a national record of 43.94 to claim the gold medal. The closest Grenada had come to an Olympic medal previously was when current Aggie assistant coach Alleyne Francique placed fourth in the 400 final in 2004.
Pinder had a strong start and led the field of eight down the backstretch within the first 200m of the race. As the field moved through the final curve, James took over the lead with 18-year-old Leguelin Santos of Dominican Republic, the 2012 World Junior champion, moving into second place (44.46) ahead of Trinidad & Tobago's Lalonde Gordon (44.52).
In final stages of the race, Pinder dropped back into seventh as countryman Chris Brown challenged for bronze, but came up short with a 44.79 placing fourth. Belgium's twin brothers, Kevin (44.81) and Jonathan Borlee (44.83), finished fifth and sixth. Australia's Steven Soloman, a bronze medalist at the 2012 World Juniors, placed eighth with a 45.14.
James became the first non-American ro run sub 44 seconds as his time ranks No. 9 all-time. He also bettered the UK all-comers record of 43.98 set by Michael Johnson in 1992.
As fast as James' time was it would have only claimed gold in one of the past six Olympic finals, in 2004 when Jeremy Wariner won in 44.00 seconds. This was the first Olympic final in history, outside of the 1980 boycott, in which there were no Americans in the final.
Next for Pinder and the Bahamas during the London Olympics will be the 4 x 400 relay. The prelims will take place on Thursday, Aug. 9 , with the finals set for Friday, Aug. 10.
Tuesday's morning session includes the opening round of the 110 hurdles. A&M's Wayne Davis II, of Trinidad & Tobago, along with U.S. Olympic Trials champion and current world leader Aries Merritt, who trains in College Station, set out to advance to the semifinal.
Davis competes in the second heat of six, running in lane seven, where the top three finishers and the next six fastest times qualify for the next round. The heat with Davis also includes American Jason Richardson, the 2011 World Champion, and Andrew Riley of Jamaica, who won a NCAA double of the 100 meters and 110 hurdles in June for Illinois.
Merritt, also stationed in lane seven, runs in the fifth heat with Ryan Brathwaite of Barbados, the 2009 World Champion, and Jamaican Richard Phillips. The hurdle heats begin at 10:10 a.m. in London (4:10 a.m. CST).