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Injuries, illness won't stop resilient Riley

Published:Saturday | July 2, 2016 | 7:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Riley

Andrew Riley's season has been blighted by illness and injury, but the 2014 Commonwealth Games champion isn't daunted as he looks to open the gateway to Rio de Janeiro and the 2016 Olympic Games at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Championships.

"This year, it has been a little bit rough. Some medical issues and some injuries has been slowing me down for quite some time," said the 2012 Olympian. "But the last month, the last six weeks, has been good."

Riley, a champion heptathlete and high jumper for Calabar, set a seasonal best of 13.48 seconds at the inaugural Racers Grand Prix recently. Such a performance seemed unlikely when illness struck.

"This year, I had a gastro-intestinal bleeding, where I developed an ulcer on prescription pain meds, and that kind of affected me."

"I went to emergency and I had to be on IV for one week," he recounted at the end of a quick workout inside the National Stadium yesterday. This problem left him out of training for a month and then he developed a knee injury.

In 2012, Riley became the first athlete to win both the 100 metres and the 110 metres at the NCAA Championships. Riding that wave of success, he went on to qualify for the Jamaican Olympic team. Since then, he has collected two national titles and the Commonwealth gold medal and reached the final of the 2013 World Championships.

 

THIRD-FASTEST JAMAICAN

 

His personal best - 13.14 seconds - makes him the third-fastest Jamaican of all time.

A semi-finalist at last year's World Championships, the 27-year-old Riley knows this weekend's Nationals will be tough. He says Jamaica's depth in the 110 metres hurdles has improved.

"It's very competitive ... it's good for the sport and it's good for the country," he pronounced. "I've just got to go out there and just compete."

Riley, reigning national champion Omar McLeod, 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Hansle Parchment, the improving Deuce Carter, young prospect Tyler Mason, and the rest of the sprint hurdles field are set for a 6:30 p.m. semi-final round today with the final schedule for 8:15 p.m.