We can be just as good - Simmonds
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:
National 100m hurdles champion Megan Simmonds admitted to getting emotional ahead of her heat at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games yesterday, and as she gets ready for today's semi-final with one eye on the medal round, she says there is a point to prove.
Simmonds clocked 12.81 to finish second to American champion and former World champion Brianna Rollins, 12.54, to book her spot in today's semi-finals, which start at 8:45 p.m. (6:45 p.m. Jamaica time).
The top-ranked Jamaican coming out of the heats, Simmonds will line up in the third and final semi-final and will come up against another American and medal favourite, Kristi Castlin.
"I think I could have focused a tad bit more, but, hopefully, I can correct that in the semis and, God's willing, hopefully, I get into the final," Simmonds told The Gleaner. "I feel like I am in shape to give them a good battle."
Simmonds, who crashed out at the national trials last year, missing the chance to compete at the World Championships, says walking into the Olympic Stadium for the first time was an emotional experience and she is looking to respond to critics and prove that Jamaica's female sprint hurdling is heading in the right direction.
"To tell the truth, I had to be holding back tears in the warm-up area. It's safe to say I have been through a lot, and to be here finally - for God to give me the opportunity to be here, for me to have remained faithful to God and for Him to bring me to the place where He wanted me to be - it's really emotional," Simmonds said.
She added that she was excited to run straight away against Rollins, who is considered the gold medal favourite, and expects that to work in her advantage.
"I was happy she (Rollins) was in the heat because you don't want to run up on someone like that in the final, so I got a feel for her in the heat, so I will be more comfortable if I get her in the semis or someone like her in the semis and the final," Simmonds said before talking about the perception around Jamaican female sprint hurdling.
"I definitely feel a sense of responsibility. I remembered this morning (yesterday) someone was saying that Jamaican hurdlers aren't as good as Brigitte (Foster-Hylton) and Delloreen (Ennis) and so on, but we are here to show that this is not true. We are coming and we are ready and we will be as good or even better," Simmonds sought to assure.
"I am super confident. My coach is Stephen Francis and I serve the one true God," she added.