Fri | Feb 23, 2018

Simmonds could surprise

Published:Friday | July 29, 2016 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence

Pint-sized 100 metres hurdler Megan Simmonds could surprise the world at next month's Olympic Games. That's the hope of Leacroft Bolt, the man who coached her in high school. He reckons that if Simmonds and her current coach Stephen Francis emphasise speed development in her final preparations, she could do very well in the event.

Simmonds won her event at the recent National Senior Championships in a new personal best time of 12.79 seconds and Bolt says her times suggest that she has a chance.

"She just might take something out of the hat", he guessed, "you never know.

"She's now hurdling better than before," he continued, "so I'm watching that sub-13." This is the third season in a row in which Simmonds had logged times under 13 seconds. "Once she stays in that area, she'll do well," said the man who coached Simmonds at St Andrew High School.

"Franno has been working wonders but it's a sort of baptism really for Megan," he noted with an admiring reference to coach Francis and to an experience that will be brand new for Simmonds. Though she was a finalist at the 2011 World Youth Championships, she has never run in a senior global competition before.

Bolt, a veteran coach himself, has itemised speed development as a key to possible success for Simmonds. "I always tell my athletes speed is a good thing, worse if you combine speed with hurdling", he reasoned, "it's a win-win."

"Megan is a good tactician but once Franno ups the speed," he promised, "she will do extremely well.