Sat | Aug 19, 2017

Graham praises 400m hurdlers

Published:Sunday | July 10, 2016 | 7:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Jaheel Hyde (left) and Annsert Whyte competing in the men’s 400 metres hurdles final at the recent National Senior Championships.
Winthrop Graham
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Winthrop Graham, Jamaica's finest 400-metre hurdler, has praised 2016 National champion Annsert Whyte for his race strategy. He also has words of advice for Jaheel Hyde.

Speaking at the recent National Senior Championships, Graham said he wasn't counting out Whyte, Hyde and Roxroy Cato, the top three finishers, as they advance to the Olympics next month.

With Graham, the 1992 Olympic runner-up, among those watching keenly at the National Stadium, Whyte set a brisk early pace and crossed the line in 48.66 seconds, with Hyde following in a Jamaican junior record of 48.81, and Cato third at 48.96. Graham described Whyte's performance as a 'very good race' and analysed: "I think Whyte ran out very aggressively and was able to maintain it pretty well. It was a very good thing for him to run the race that way."

He had high marks for reigning World Junior champion Hyde, who broke through the 49-second barrier by closing fast.

"You know, I saw the junior a little bit before he raced and I said, 'There's nothing else you have to do but run the same way you did in the heat before because you have that unbelievable finish, and if you just believe in yourself, you'll be fine'," Graham told him.

Hyde seemed to struggle over the fifth and sixth hurdles, but Graham says he will overcome the difficulty in time. "The 400 hurdles take a lot of experience to master," said the 2-time World Championship medal winner. "And that is why I told him don't worry about anything."

Graham reckons that Whyte, Hyde and Cato should use the time leading up to the Olympics to sharpen and to work on technical aspects of their hurdling. He acknowledges that the Olympic competition will be tough, but reasoned: "We've been watching them for this season. They've been improving, and that's a good thing, so I'll never count them out either."