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Hyde the future of Ja's 400m hurdling, says Leford Green

Published:Tuesday | June 9, 2015 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence

Not long after a near dead heat with World Junior champion Jaheel Hyde in the 400-metre hurdles at last Saturday's JAAA All Comers meet, four-time national champion Leford Green said the 18-year-old Hyde represents growth in the intermediate hurdles.

The 2012 Olympic finalist called Hyde "a very good talent" and expects that the youngster will be among the contenders at the upcoming National Championships.

"He's a very good athlete, a very good athlete," Green emphasised. "I wish I was running that fast at 17 and 18.

"He's a very good athlete and a very good talent and I'm happy for him," he elaborated, "because that means that Jamaica has growth coming up in the 400 hurdles in the future."

With Hyde, defending national champion Roxroy Cato, 2014 runner-up Annsert Whyte, and Josef Robertson in the mix, Green reckoned that the 400-metre hurdles would be worth watching at the Nationals.

"It's going to be really good and exciting," he forecast. "Everyone will have to bring their A game.

"That's pretty much what it's all about," he surmised, "who's most focused on the day because we're all capable enough of making it."

gateway to greatness

The 28-year-old Johnson C. Smith University graduate knows that the 48-second barrier is the gateway to greatness in his event.

"I'd love to run 47," he said. "I'd love to break the national record (NR) at some point, but right now, I'm just trying to stay focused.

"I'm trying to just really focus on the race and not the time."

In reference to the nationals, he said: "I'm just trying to execute to the best of my ability. That's what I'm really working on."

Green described Winthrop Graham's NR of 47.60 seconds, set in 1993, as a "very brilliant time" and noted that "not a lot of the people, even in the world right now, are running that, so you know it's a very fast time".

No one in the world has run faster than 47.60 since 2010. Nevertheless the man with a personal best of 48.47 said: "I'm really focused on the race and trying to get into the 48s, get there consistently and then we can actually think about getting to the 47s."

After being based in North Carolina and training at Johnson C Smith with coach Lennox Graham for years, Green is now based in Jamaica with the Cameron Blazers track club

"I'm back in Jamaica training with good weather and you have good-quality people around you," he said brightly.

More intense training has him optimistic this year.

"So it's not only me alone training as a pro versus me training with four, five, six other pro athletes," he said. "I think that's really beneficial and it's really helped me so far."

Green, who reached the World Championship semi-final in 2013, is one of four Jamaicans who have matched, or surpassed, the IAAF qualifying standard of 49.50 seconds. The others are Hyde at 49.01, Cato, and Whyte. Whyte, Green, and Cato have run 49.20, 49.22, and 49.50, respectively, this year.