Aaron Brown wins the 200-metre at the Kip Keino Classic in Kenya


Aaron Brown

Despite a delayed start, Toronto sprinter Aaron Brown maintained his composure on the straightaway and finished strong, posting his third top-three placing in as many 200-metre races this season and first victory on Saturday in Nairobi, Kenya.

Following a false start — no warnings were given to any athlete — Brown improved his performance as the race progressed, coming off the bend in first place and holding off American Kyree King to win in 20.12 seconds at the Kip Keino Classic.

“It was an incredibly fast [start] gun and I got caught off guard,” Brown said after the race. “I didn’t push as hard as normal, my reaction [time] was off and I didn’t execute the first part of the race like I normally do. But I stayed patient and executed the second half to win the race.

“I’m pleased given the circumstances, but I know today could’ve been a [personal-best] day.” Brown’s 19.95 PB is from July 2019 and he went 20-flat in his first 200 this year in late April at the Botswana Golden Grand Prix.

Brown also won last year’s race in Nairobi in a wind-assisted 20.05 over King, who matched his 2022 time of 20.18 on Saturday, a season best. He opened his outdoor campaign in the event with a 20.29 showing in Doha.

“The altitude is the biggest difference [from other cities]. It’s harder to catch your breath but it leads to faster times,” said Brown. “I’ve heard they are converting to a Diamond League next season so that will give even more incentive to make the trip.”

Liberian-American sprinter Joseph Fahnbulleh, the 2022 NCAA Division 1 champion in the 200, was third in 20.19 at Saturday’s World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meet.

Brown implemented 400-metre base training into his program the past few months in hopes off pushing through the early-season rust quickly in the 100 and 200. His first outdoor race of 2023 was a winning performance in the 400 (45.84 seconds) on April 1 at the Florida Relays.

“I feel like I’m in great shape after that [race] and I’m just looking to get more race sharp,” he said. “Staying healthy is the key.”

Brown will race the 100 at the USA Track and Field Los Angeles Grand Prix on May 27 and return to the 200 in Diamond League action June 2 in Florence, Italy.