Sun | Mar 18, 2018

Sometimes it's good to be the underdog - Jackson

Published:Sunday | August 14, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Shericka Jackson competing in the women's 400 metres heats in Rio de Janeiro yesterday.


World Championships bronze-medal winner Shericka Jackson says she is beginning to get back in shape at just the right time, as she geared up for today's 400m semi-finals with an easy 51.73 win in yesterday's heats.

Jackson has not had the most encouraging season after her mild surprise in Beijing last year, only twice running below 51 seconds, but she believes she can again shine in the underdog role here at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and is looking forward to the competition that awaits.

The Jamaican will line up in semi-final two, where she will run from lane 6, with experienced American Natasha Hastings expected to provide the most serious threat to her ambitions to qualify for the final at her first Olympic Games.

"I'm feeling much better. I think I am controlling my race much better now, and now, it's about keeping focused in the races ahead," Jackson told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday.

"I just come out here to have some fun. It's always good to be the underdog. Nobody expects me to run as fast, but who knows?" she said with a big smile. "I am looking forward to the competition. It's always good to have good competitors who can push you to the limit, but I am here to have some fun and hope for the best.

"The plan was to qualify as easily as possible. My coach (Stephen Francis) gave his instructions on how I was supposed to approach this race, and I think I did that," Jackson said, before adding that she wasn't exactly comfortable running out of lane 8.

"I had a problem with lane 8, but I told myself it's still the 400m and everyone has to run the same distance. I was able to refocus and get the job done."

Only two Jamaicans have medalled at the Olympics in the women's 400m.

Shericka Williams won silver in 2008 at the Beijing Games, with Lorraine Graham winning a medal of the same colour in 2000 at the Sydney Games.