For years, Daniel Bailey stood alone as the sole world class sprinter from Antigua and Barbuda. Now, he has company. In 2015, his country emerged as a 4×100 relay medal candidate. The Jamaica based Bailey couldn't be happier.

The rise of Miguel Francis, who ran 20.05 seconds for 200 metres last year, and 2014 World Junior 100 finalist Cehjae Green has given Antigua and Barbuda speed to burn. Bailey, an Olympian at 18, smiled about it on Saturday at an athletics meet in Kingston. "They're young. They're inexperienced. They're good as well and they will get better, very talented especially Miguel Francis", he said.

Francis, a lanky 21 year-old, barely missed a berth in last year's World Championship final. His semi-final time of 20.14 matched the winning time by British ace Zharnel Hughes in one of the other qualification races. He opened his 2016 season by winning the 200 metres at the MVP Track meet in 20.11 seconds.

Francis followed that with a defeat of Hughes at the Cayman Invitational but aggravated a knee injury.

Chevaughn Walsh, Bailey, Green and Francis connected well to run 38.14 seconds to qualify for the 2015 Pan-American Games final before baton troubles hit them. With Jared Jarvis in for Green, they went even faster at the World Championships, setting another national record 38.01 seconds in the preliminary round.

That makes Antigua and Barbuda the 12th fastest country of all time, with Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Cuba the only Caribbean countries with faster national records.

A slower time of 38.61 seconds in the final hasn't dampened Bailey's enthusiasm. "We broke the record", he enthused, "and we made it to the World Championship final which is a great achievement for us."

"That was the first year of the full team running together", he continued expectantly. "Imagine, as the year progresses, what's going to happen later down", he envisaged.


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