Wed | Oct 4, 2023

Second chance for Knight

Published:Thursday | August 25, 2022 | 12:06 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Andrenette Knight.
Andrenette Knight.

WHEN THE women’s 400-metre hurdles is called to order at tomorrow’s Lausanne Diamond League meet, one big name will be missing. It’s American Sydney McLaughlin, winner of the gold medal at the World Championships in the world-record time of 50.68 seconds. McLaughlin won’t race again until next season.

Nevertheless, Lausanne has assembled a field with six of the eight fastest women of 2022, including the Jamaican trio of Rushell Clayton, Janieve Russell, and Andrenette Knight, who is coming back from an awful disappointment.

Holland’s European champion Femke Bol, second to McLaughlin at the Worlds, leads the field and must contend with American Dalilah Muhammad, the 2016 Olympic champion and 2019 World champion; the Jamaicans; Panama’s World and Olympic finalist Gianna Woodruff; and the competent Ukrainian pair, Anna Ryzhykova and Viktoriya Tkachuk.

Knight came to the Jamaican Nationals as the fastest Jamaican in the 400 hurdles at 53.39 seconds and took command early in the final. Disaster struck as her lead leg clattered hurdle eight and sent her tumbling.

Shiann Salmon, who finished second with a personal best of 53.82, sympathised: “It’s extremely awful.”

Continuing, Salmon observed: “She improved rapidly this year, and it was a really good feeling to be able to race with her all season. It’s very unfortunate ... what happened to her, and I was telling her that ‘things fall apart so that better things can fall into place’.”


The race winner was 2016 and 2021 Olympic finalist Russell, with 2019 World bronze medallist Clayton third. Knight’s position as the fastest Jamaican this year would fall to Clayton, who clocked 53.32 seconds in Monaco on August 10, after placing fourth at the Commonwealth Games. At that meet, Russell repeated her 2018 victory.

Just after the Nationals, Salmon wished Knight a speedy comeback to top form.

“Hopefully, she bounces back as good as she was doing all along, and I just have her in my prayers as well,” offered the 2018 World Under-20 Championship runner-up.

A week after the National Championships, the 25-year-old Knight scooted 53.85 seconds to win at the Stars and Stripes Classic in Marietta, Georgia. She hasn’t hurdled in a race since then and came back to the track at last weekend’s NACAC Open Championships in The Bahamas. She watched as Salmon upset Russell to win the gold medal and joined the action with solid legs for Jamaica in the mixed 4x400m and the women’s 4x400m relays.

Knight’s training partner, McLaughlin, is the second-fastest woman of all time. She set a world-record 52.16 seconds to win the 2019 World Championships, and accelerated that to 51.58 chasing McLaughlin last year at the Olympic Games. However, injuries have slowed the 32-year-old in 2022 to 53.13 seconds.

Nevertheless, she may fancy her chances against Bol, who did a 400m/400m hurdles/4x400m gold medal triple last week at the European Championships in Munich, Germany.

The tall Dutchwoman, Bol, is the fastest of all the Lausanne entrants this year at 52.27 seconds.