Tue | Jan 23, 2018

O’Hara should hurdle – Graham

Published:Tuesday | September 27, 2016 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
'KC' Graham
Michael O'Hara competing for Calabar High.

Veteran hurdles and sprint coach, Raymond 'KC' Graham, is hoping that former Calabar High School star, Michael O'Hara, will consider a return to the 110-metre hurdles.

Graham cites the competition for the national team places in the flat sprints, and O'Hara's fine high-school career in the hurdles as reasons for his suggestion. In addition, he says O'Hara's speed will be an asset.

O'Hara, who turns 20 on September 29, hasn't hurdled since his exciting Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) Boys and Girls' Championship win over World Youth record holder, Jaheel Hyde, in 2015.

"I think he needs to go back to the sprint hurdles," Graham suggested.


McLeod opened the door


In a reference to newly crowned Olympic champion Omar McLeod, he theorised: "There's too much competition in the sprints, and I think what Omar has done, I think he has opened the door.

"When you look at Jamaica's sprints, 200, 100, if you realise, some of the guys have left and gone overseas".

These sprinters include Jacques Harvey, 2011 World University Games 100m winner for Jamaica; former St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) and University of Technology (UTech) speed merchants Andrew Fisher and Kemarley Brown; and Winston Barnes, lead-off runner on Jamaica's 2006 World Junior 4x100m champion team. All ran in the Rio Olympics for other countries.

Harvey and Barnes now represent Turkey, while Fisher and Brown run in the red of Bahrain.

Graham believes O'Hara's fine hurdling for Calabar High is a hint that he could have a bright future over the barriers.

Even though O'Hara was also a 100-metre champion in all Boys and Girls Championships' classes and took gold and bronze at the 2013 World Youth Championships and the 2014 World Junior Championships, Graham feels certain that the talented young athlete should hurdle.

"With the speed that O'Hara has, and he already has the technique, I think going back to the hurdles will do a lot of good for him," Graham said.

Graham's observations mirror earlier comments from 2006 Commonwealth 110-metre hurdles champion Maurice Wignall.

"Maybe later on, a year, two years down, you may see him come back in it because Dwight Thomas did something similar," said Wignall.

Thomas, a star sprinter and hurdler at Calabar High in the late 1990s, reached the 2005 World Championship 100m final, but returned to the 110-metre hurdles later in his career.