Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Wilson: Russell can join the elite

Published:Friday | June 24, 2016 | 6:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Janieve Russell
Wilson
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Maurice Wilson says that Stephen Francis, coach at the MVP Track Club, is doing a great job with 400 metres hurdler Janieve Russell.

Wilson, who coached Russell when she attended Holmwood Technical High, believes she can become one of the world's best. He is also of the opinion that Kaliese Spencer is on her way back to good form.

He said recently that Russell has made excellent progress at the University of Technology.

"Her coach, Stephen Francis, is doing a very good job with her," he affirmed. "I think she can be one of the best hurdlers in the world," he continued, in reference to the 22 year-old Russell.

Itemising her speed and versatility, Wilson analysed, "She has a wide range in all events, so she has good balance, so I'm expecting a lot from her."

Russell ended her Holmwood years as 2012 World Junior champion, since then, has won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal. Last year, she placed fifth at the World Championships.

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Undefeated so far this season, the former Holmwood head girl is the fastest Jamaican in 2016 at 53.96 seconds. That was the best time in the world until American Shamier Little churned out a swift clocking of 53.51 seconds to win the US collegiate title on June 11. Little succeeded Russell as World Junior Champion in 2014 and was second last year at the World Championships.

Eight Jamaicans have surpassed the Olympic Games qualifying standard of 56.20 seconds, prompting Wilson to wish that more than three of them could compete in the Games.

"I'm only disappointed that we don't have four or five slots for these young ladies to get the opportunity to participate," he lamented. Among them are Ristananna Tracey and Rhonda Whyte, whom Wilson coaches.

Noting that 2014 Commonwealth winner Kaliese Spencer has a time of 55.02 seconds for the event this season, he said: "She's not necessarily where she was before, but it's obvious that she's getting there every time she runs. It's good for not only Jamaica, but also the sport."