Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Diamond Debate | Big test for Russell

Published:Sunday | May 22, 2016 | 5:00 AM
Janieve Russell

KC Graham: Janieve Russell has been Jamaica's best female 400 metres hurdler so far this season and will get her sternest test today.

Lowe: 54.61 already this year makes her the second fastest on the planet in the event, but you are right. This is going to be a hot one in the Moroccan desert, with a couple of good girls also lined up in this event.

KC Graham: She is yet to score a major win on the circuit in her short career, but I think things will change as she is full of confidence this season.

Lowe: I'm really encouraged by her start to the season, especially considering that she had surgery at the end of last year and also had other issues dealing with. She seems, however, to have zoned in and must be feeling good about her chances after that run at the Jamaica Invitational. We don't know what her workout was like last week, but she has not competed since then, so should be itching to be unleashed.

 

Inexperience

 

KC Graham: Based on her flat 400m speed so far this season, where she has recorded a personal best (PB)of 51.17 so early in the season, she looks set to do something special in the 400m hurdles, and today could be the start of great things from her.

Lowe: Her inexperience on the circuit has showed in the past. She has finished seventh in her last three Diamond League appearances, but would have gained valuable experience from those plus her fifth-placed World Champs run.

KC Graham: I think her biggest danger in this race will be Kemi Adekoya from Bahrain, whose season best is 54.87 seconds. Once Russell runs a more controlled race, instead of saving for the final stages, she should do well here.

Lowe: Adekoya ran that PB in what is her only outdoor race so far this year, and remember that she won the World Indoor 400m title earlier this year in a fast 51.45 seconds. She's having the best season of her young career, but we cannot overlook the South African Wenda Theron Nel, who had also gone below 55 seconds already.

KC Graham: Oh, I forgot about her! The South African is very dangerous. If Russell passes this test and wins, then this could be the platform for her for the rest of the season, including Rio. A win here will be a big confidence booster for her.

Lowe: Sounds like you're shying away from calling a winner. Listen, I think it's going to be very close between these three. Russell is the fastest, and I think her early season speed work will pay off here. It will be even for 300m, but I expect her to pull away for her first Diamond League win.

KC Graham: I am not. Sentiments-wise, I like Russell, but experience-wise, both Theron and Adekoya are extremely good and it should be very close, but I think Adekoya should win in a close finish, but Russell should lower her PB.