Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Spencer seeks that major medal

Published:Friday | May 6, 2016 | 5:00 AM
Spencer

DOHA, Qatar

Kaliese Spencer is more determined than ever to win her first senior championships medal in the 400m hurdles this year.

Spencer, who turns 29 today, twice finished fourth at the World Championships and once at the Olympics.

She will today compete in the first meet of the 2016 Diamond League series being held in Doha, Qatar, having won the Diamond trophy in her pet event in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014. But even the circuit will have to take a back seat this season, with the Olympics being her priority.

"This (Diamond League) is definitely not my focus for this season. I am just focused on staying healthy and getting to the Olympics, and that's my main focus, getting there and getting a medal," Spencer said.

Spencer has in the past been accused by local track and field fans of giving of her best on the circuit and falling short in the championship races. However, she blames her shortcomings at the World Championships and Olympics on injuries and said she would be out to quiet the doubters this time around.

MORE FOCUSED

"I am more focused right now, and I just need to stay healthy. I am always getting hurt, so once I am healthy, I should be good," Spencer said.

Spencer, who, with 21 wins in the 400m hurdles on the Diamond League circuit, is the most successful track athlete in the history of the series, split from the Stephen Francis-led MVP Track Club in 2015 after 10 years. She is now a member of Cameron Blazers, led by the 1983 four hundred metre World champion Bert Cameron.

"Training has been going good. Great people and being there is like a family, so I am just trying to stay healthy, and once I am healthy, I believe that it should be a great season," Spencer said. "He (Cameron) is a great 400m coach, and I have a lot of persons there working with me as well for the hurdles, so they are really trying their best to get me into top shape for the championships."

Spencer will get to test exactly where she is at the moment when she lines up against two-time reigning World Champion and Olympic bronze medallist Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic, who denied her the Diamond trophy in the event last year.

"I just want to ensure that my stride pattern is correct and getting my rhythm. It is a bit off," Spencer revealed. "So once I can get the stride pattern and the rhythm, it should be a good race."

ryon.jones@gleanerjm.com