Wed | Aug 23, 2017

World Record for McLeod? - Ray Harvey believes

Published:Tuesday | June 30, 2015 | 6:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Omar McLeod (centre) clears the hurdle on the way to winning the men's 110 metres hurdles final ahead of Hansle Parchment (right) and Dwight Thomas at the JAAA Supreme Ventures Senior National Athletics Championships at the National stadium on Saturday night. McLeod clocked a personal best and world leading 12.97 seconds.

At least one shrewd observer believes Omar McLeod has the potential to challenge the world record in the 110-metre hurdles.

Ray Harvey, once holder of a world indoor hurdles best, was hugely impressed with McLeod's world-leading run of 12.97 seconds at the Jamaica National Senior Championships.

Harvey feels McLeod's speed was a huge asset in his defeat of Olympic bronze medallist Hansle Parchment.

"What I'm impressed with most of all was his speed because, in this race, I saw Parchment hurdle much better than him over the last three hurdles, but was not able to overtake him simply because this young man is just so quick."

"His form is immaculate," he analysed. "Impeccable, but his speed is what really, I think, could propel him probably close to the world record."

The speed has always been there. The new star was a key member of 4x100m teams at Manchester High School and Kingston College. In his two years at the University of Arkansas, he has accelerated with races over the flat 60 metres indoors. At the recent NCAA outdoor meet, he not only completed an undefeated season in the hurdles, but he also ran the opening leg on Arkansas' winning 4x100m team.

Harvey, who won the Class One sprint hurdles for Kingston College in 1962, reckons McLeod needs a recovery period between racing and rest in the seven weeks leading to the 15th IAAF World Championships.

"The NCAA season is a very, very long one," Harvey explained. "He's run a lot of fast races, so I think between now and the World Champion-ship, he needs to run some races because he needs to get sharp, but I don't think a serious workload between now and then is desirable."

According to one account, McLeod has run almost 50 races in 2015, covering a combination of 60-metre sprints, 60- and 110-metre hurdling and relay duty in the 4x100m and the 4x400m. He was undefeated in the hurdles, notching a Jamaican record of 7.45 seconds to defend his NCAA indoor title and matching that win outdoors.

His win on Saturday night was a triumphant return home as he won two individual gold medals at Boys and Girls' Championships for KC in 2013.

exceptionally good

Harvey, who won the silver in the 1966 CAC Games, also said: "Parchment looks exceptionally good over the last three hurdles.

"I've never seen him hurdle that well," he affirmed.

On Saturday night inside the National Stadium, McLeod scared Parchment's Jamaican record of 12.94 seconds, with the holder back in form at 13.08, with Andrew Riley third at 13.35.

Harvey believes that Jamaica could have as many as three men in the World Championships final.

Asked whether there might be two Jamaicans in the Beijing final, Harvey said: "Two at least because Riley didn't look bad either."