Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken
Alastair Aitken's
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Andretti Bain 2008 Olympic 4x400 relay silver


by Alastair Aitken

            Till 2007 Andretti Baine was a name few would recognise amongst the top '100' 400m runners in the World as his best was 46.05 in 2006 but in 2008 he burst on to the scene, winning the NCAA Indoors at Fayetteville on the 14th of March with a time of 46.2 and the NCAA Outdoors in Des Moines on the 14th of June, in 44.62.
   "The NCAA titles for me were the biggest and most valuable. The indoor title has a special place because it was the first National title that I won. I will never forget those'
   The two he wanted to achieve before he graduated from Roberts College, in Tulsa, Oklahoma in December 2008. He had told his family and friends he was going to work hard to achieve those titles and went in as an underdog to the NCAA indoors. At the age of 22 he still had time on his side to improve further and, was part of the Bahamas team that came second to the USA in the 4x400 in Beijing, although at the Olympics  he had not improved on his best time in the individual heats (45.72 in 7th in the semi-final) but he had really gone all out to win the outdoor NCAA title earlier in the year which had been very important to him.
   Andretti actually enjoyed running since he was five and started racing at the age of ten in Carlton Francis Primary school in the Bahamas.
   ' I loved running. It's been a burning passion since I was a kid. My parents named me after Mario Andretti the great race driver. I guess it was instilled in me from then to want to be fast so, I have always loved racing. My Uncle Bernard Young was an athlete and my Grandmother showed me all his medals and trophies and I was inspired by that. In Sunshine Park in the Bahamas, where I grew up there  were a group of guys who were neighbours and we would all race from a red line to the corner of the houses 75 metres away.'
He continued 'The late Diana Thompson encouraged me at my secondary school. That was where I was coached by Fritz Grant and Curtis Fry. It was then I decided to go to the next level. I could see track and field was an avenue for a career and at College I worked along with my coach  Joe Dial (Once a World record holder for the pole vault indoors. World indoor bronze in 1989).
   This year, although still working with coaches back in the Bahamas, Joe Dial switched his focus away from the 400 hurdles to 400m flat. Andretti Bain's record over the 400 hurdles includes in 2001' 52.93 in 2002 and 50.83 in May 2007.
He felt it safer to concentrate on the flat with the NCAA coming up and the Olympics this year, rather than pick up little injuries, in an event he did not feel he had a lot of experience of doing.
   " I am at the beginning of knowing what 400 hurdles is all about. My technique is off and my rhythm off, I run as though I am running a flat 400 and it does not work out that way. Once I can take the time to learn the hurdles I should be able to run 48/47 seconds as it will come a lot easier. I love the challenges. After I have got my Masters at school I would like to get to the point of being in the top 5 in the World for the 400m flat and 400hurdles. I have got the talent to do it.
'God has been a blessing for me and I have a great supporting group like my chiropractor Michael Peterson, as I have had issue with my hamstrings. He has kept me healthy and Dr Phillip Lawson back with the Bahamas National team has been good with the diet."
Who did he admire amongst the best 400 men then?
         " Michael Johnson but being from the Bahamas I would say Avard Moncur, Chris Brown, Troy Macintosh. They were the pace setters from the Bahamas. I grew up watching those guys."

Alastair Aitken

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