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Jevaughn Powell – First Jamaican under 45 seconds for 400m in 2022

Published:Friday | June 3, 2022 | 12:06 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Davian Clarke
Davian Clarke

Jevaughn Powell is the first Jamaican to better 45 seconds in the 400 metres this season. Powell, the 2017 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships Class Two winner, clocked a personal best 44.87 seconds on May 27 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The run qualified him for next month’s World Championships and next week’s NCAA Championships.

“It was a very well executed race,” said two-time Olympic 400-metre finalist Davian Clarke, who coaches Powell at the University of Texas El Paso. Pitted against a field at the NCAA West Regionals, Powell lost on the lean to Barbadian Jonathan Jones who won in 44.85.

“I just told him, run the same pace and just see how you feel the last part and if you can step past them, just step past them and everything just kind of worked out that way,” Clarke said on Tuesday.

The time beat the World Championships qualifying standard of 44.90 and made Powell the 25th Jamaican in history to break 45 seconds.

“I really think that he can run faster if he gets better competition in the future,” Clarke added.

That’s around the corner as Powell will face stiff competition at the NCAA Championships, in Eugene, Oregon, starting on June 8. University of Texas star Jones, who has run 44.43, defending NCAA champion Randolph Ross of North Carolina A&T who won the East Regionals in 44.22, and 44.74 man Champion Allison who runs for the University of Florida, will all be there.

Clarke reckons Powell’s NCAA chances are as good as anyone else’s. “The biggest thing with track and field, as you know, is not physical talent. It’s always how that person deals with the pressure, the pressure of those situations. Some people, the pressure pushes them to be better and to reach a point in their lives where they wouldn’t have been able to hit before,” reasoned the man who won the NCAA title in 1996.

Powell ran 45.29 before the West Regionals, as a result of steady progress. “It’s just been working and get him to believe in himself, to believe that if he just follows the system we have in place that success will come and you know, you can’t force those things. All those things take time but the young athletes always think you just get up and just run,” coach Clarke said.

Then he cautioned, “You have to put in the work and so he’s been putting in the work the last couple of years and then he just had to deal with the other part of running the 400m, which is dealing with the competition of it. Normally, it takes about two to three years for somebody to grasp the physical and the mental aspect and so he’s right on track.”

Powell isn’t far from Clarke’s personal best of 44.83. “He knows that too. That’s weh him a shoot fah. Him a try knock me off the board,” Clarke said in his mixture of proper English and Jamaican dialect.