Wed | Aug 23, 2017

VCB: 2015 has set me up for 2016

Published:Monday | December 7, 2015 | 12:00 AMAudley Boyd
Gary Williams presenting Veronica Campbell-Brown with her award at the 21st annual gala of Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) at the Hilton Hotel in New York last Saturday. Williams is the founder and chairman of COJO, a not-for-profit organisation that collects money for underprivileged children in both Queens, New York, and Jamaica.

QUEENS, New York:

VERONICA Campbell-Brown believes the way she finished last season has provided the perfect launch pad for next year.

The outstanding Jamaica female sprinter had low performances as she struggled with uncharacteristic poor form leading into the World Championships, in what she described as her 'most challenging year'.

However, cometh the hour, cometh the woman and at the World Championships in Beijing, China, Campbell-Brown - with personal best times of 10.76 for the 100 metres and 21.74 over 200m - ran herself into form and took bronze in the 200m final and gold on the Jamaican sprint relay team. Also, she narrowly missed out on a medal in the 100 metres by placing fourth.

"2015 was my most challenging season, not in terms of lack of medals," she told The Gleaner in an interview in New York on Friday.

"My programme was on point. My programme was well designed, but my body ... I experienced some weird stuff and it set me back couple months well. As a result, I was not able to run my races properly and I did not get a break in the way my body was feeling until about three weeks before the World Championships, and so I'm thankful for the results."

The 33-year-old flew up to the Big Apple where she was presented with the Children of Jamaica Outreach (COJO) Humanitarian Award at its yearly function on Saturday night at the JFK Hilton Hotel in Queen's.

Campbell-Brown, a battle-hard competitor, said her strong-willed personality played a major part in her bronze-medal success at the World Championships last summer.

"It's all about mental toughness; I stayed strong, I stayed positive and I went into that final with the mindset to win.

I just ran like I was crazy from the gun. If I didn't do that, I would not have got a medal," the former Vere Technical standout said.

"The 100 metres wasn't bad either. I think it set me up for the 200 metres. I felt good. I felt like myself in the 100-metre semis, but in the final, I was a little off. But overall, it was a decent championship for me, not what I'm used to. It may seem like an underperformance, but I do understand there were factors that contributed to that, so, at the end of the day, I have to be pleased with what I achieved."

 

MENTAL TOUGHNESS

 

Asked how much mental toughness has enabled her success, the sprinter, popularly known as 'VCB', said: "I think it plays a very huge part. Training is hard, but you've to be mentally tough every day to get through the workouts; and then competition is tough.

"Over the years, I've learnt that if I keep my mind clean and clear and just focus on me and not worry about what's going on around me, don't focus on the workload, don't focus on the competition, as long as I can do that and keep positive and believe in God and my ability, those are the things that get me through. So, no matter how I go into a race, I don't feel like I'm not able to win; I go into every race believing that I'm as good as everybody in the field and that is important," the 17-time Olympic and World Championship medallist underlined.

Next year will be the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and VCB says she's in a good place.

"I feel like 2015 set me up for 2016. I feel like I ended my season on a decent note and it has set me up quite well for 2016. And I know that my main thing is to ensure that I stay healthy. As long as I don't miss a bulk of training sessions, I should be in a good place to be in Rio," she said.

"The competition is great because when I look at my 200m from Beijing, running 21.9 from lane two was quite impressive. I wonder what would I do if I was in a better lane. So it gives me hope for what I can do in 2016."

Competition will be tough for medals, with countrywomen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson, Natasha Morrison and Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers all displaying good form last season. The Americans who were off, are also expected to challenge as well.

"I'm not focusing on my competitors. I'm focusing on what I have to do. I know that there are a lot of talented girls that I have to compete against and it helps me to make sure that I stay motivated and keep working hard, and if everything goes well I'm expecting great results in Rio, as long as I make the team; and I'm trusting God that I will make the team," Campbell-Brown said.

At this point, she is undecided about when she'll start competing next year.

"I'm still thinking about that," she said. "I'm not sure if I'm going to do indoors. If not indoors, then it'd be in March."