Sun | May 28, 2017

Jackson: They said I should retire, but I'm a fighter

Published:Sunday | May 17, 2015 | 5:00 AM
Bershawn Jackson (right) of the United States winning the men’s 400m hurdles at the IAAF Diamond League in Doha last Friday.

DOHA, Qatar:

He couldn't even get into a good race last year, but in 2015, Bershawn Jackson is the man to beat.

In 2012, the American 400m hurdler was expected to challenge, if not win, the gold medal at the London Olympic Games after some good early-season form.

Jackson, who had not won gold at a major championships since the 2005 IAAF World Championships in Helsinki, crashed out of the event at the US Trials and failed to make the Olympic team.

Injuries and disappointments followed in 2013 when he failed to make the final at the Moscow World Championships and even getting a lane on the circuit had become next to impossible.

It was time for him to pack it up and call it quits - or at least that's what his critics believed.

However, Jackson, who recently celebrated his 32nd birthday, is fighting back, determined to take his career back to the top and claim his spot as the number one 400m hurdler on the planet.

He's doing a good job of it, so far.

Four wins from his four starts is turning him into the early favourite ahead of this summer's World Championships in Moscow, and his world-leading time of 48.09 seconds in his latest win at the Doha Diamond League in Qatar has those critics ready to sing another tune.

"I'm very happy and excited with how things are going this season. Last year, I was injured a lot and had to overcome a lot of adversity, but I jump over obstacles for a living, so it's all good," he told The Sunday Gleaner.

"It feels good to come out here and be consistent. I trained really well last year, but performed horribly because of the setbacks, This year, I've also been training very well, but as an athlete you never know where you are until you compete. In Kingston, I ran 48.47 and it felt like I had my strength and speed back, and it's an amazing feeling knowing you put the hard work in and its paying off," he added.

STAYING HUMBLE

"I'm not getting too excited by the World Championships just yet though, I have to make it there first. My first priority is to make the team. Once I do that, I just want to maintain consistency, stay humble, work hard and, hopefully, I come out with a gold. I haven't won gold since 2005 so I am working hard towards that," Jackson added.

"I'm hungrier now, I want it a lot more now. People counted me out last year. People said that I should retire, I'm past my time, I couldn't get a race. It was hard to get into a meet because I wasn't running well.

So, for me, I want to prove that I am still relevant and that I can still run with the best of the best," said Jackson.