Walcott: Top three in women’s 100m, 200m and 400m hurdles will be finalists in Eugene
The top three in some events at this weekend’s National Track and Field Championships will almost certainly challenge for medals at next month’s World Championships in Eugene, Oregon. That’s the analysis of Reynaldo Walcott, head coach at the...
The top three in some events at this weekend’s National Track and Field Championships will almost certainly challenge for medals at next month’s World Championships in Eugene, Oregon. That’s the analysis of Reynaldo Walcott, head coach at the Elite Performance training group.
Speaking on Monday, Walcott expressed his view of the level of the competition expected at the Nationals.
“With the quality that’s there, it keeps everybody honest. There’s an upside, there’s an advantage. If you make it through the Jamaican trials, just like in the women’s sprints, you have a good shot at making the final and even hoping for a medal,” he remarked a day after his return from Paris where his top star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce clocked 10.67 seconds in the 100 metres.
“There’s the big three in the event, but never say never, if you’re in the final, you do have a chance. Don’t count yourself out until it’s over,” he underscored.
According to Walcott, the competitive nature of the Nationals brings out the best in our athletes. “A competitive field, at such a high level, sort of guarantees you who were able to execute and give it your best a chance to be in the top three. So it has its upside,” he added.
Among those events on Walcott’s list is the women’s 400 metres hurdles. The Elite Performance candidate for a team spot is Rushell Clayton, who was third at the last World Championships.
EXPECTING PERSONAL BEST
“I’m expecting a personal best (PB) for her, definitely. No pressure, but definitely a PB. She works hard and she tends to deliver what you see in practice, so she’s dependable and I didn’t know I could get this much from her in such a short space of time,” he recounted of the athlete who established a personal benchmark of 53.74 seconds en route to the bronze.
After years with Swept Track Club coach Okeile Stewart, who guided her to that 2019 success, Clayton joined Walcott’s group in time for this season. “When she ran that PB, she went into the Trials not running 54, yet so she actually did her PB in the Trials running 54.7 at that point,” he said.
Noting her times of 54.90 in Puerto Rico on May 12 and 54.80 in Rome on June 9, he envisaged her success. “I think she has got better since those 54s because even in her last race, there was so much room for improvement where, despite a relatively positive race, I walked away thinking, ‘wow’, feeling optimistic about what the potential was, as a result of how many things I saw that I know she could or can do better.”
Andrenette Knight, 2016 and 2021 Olympic finalist Janieve Russell, Shian Salmon and Clayton clocked season’s best times of 53.39, 54.09, 54.43 and 54.80 seconds, respectively, ahead of the National Championships.