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McLaughlin-Whilby happy to be an Olympian

Published:Wednesday | August 3, 2016 | 8:00 AMHubert Lawrence

Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby is excited to be an Olympian. Now 30, the former Holmwood Technical High School standout says it was the only achievement missing from her career.

Even though she won't be running an individual event when track and field competition starts at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on August 12, McLaughlin-Whilby is ready to give of her best.

"That's the only achievement I didn't get. Even though it's not an individual race, the fact that I'm an Olympian. I'm very excited for that," she said.

McLaughlin was fifth in the 200m final at the 2009 World Championships and reached the 2014 Commonwealth Games final as well.

Given her focus on the 200 metres, it was a surprise to some observers that she abandoned that event for the 400m at the National Senior Championships. The switch was actually influenced by a bout of the mosquito-borne Zika ailment.

easier to GET STRONGER

"I didn't really start out the season thinking that I would end up running the 400m, honestly," she confessed.

"I had the ZikV a few weeks before trials," she detailed. "So coach was like, it's easier to get stronger as opposed to getting back the speed I missed.

"So that's how I ended up doing the 400m," she explained.

McLaughlin, who took last season off and moved from the MVP Track Club to the Sprintec Club run by her former Holmwood coach, Maurice Wilson, set personal bests of 51.35 and 51.03 seconds en route to fifth at the National Championships.

Those times follow a run of 51.40 earlier in the season and are superior to her previous 400-metre lifetime best of 51.89, which was established in 2012.

She thinks that with Wilson's help she can go faster.

"I have all the faith that he will get me to the next level," she offered. "So next season I'll be focusing on solely the 400 metres."

As things stand, her role in the Olympics will be to run in the 4x400m heats. Even so, her ambition is lofty.

"I'm just hoping to go out there and run a great leg in the heats so they'll select me for the final four for the finals," she projected.