Tue | Aug 22, 2017

800 metres for Rista In 2017?

Published:Monday | November 28, 2016 | 11:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Ristananna Tracey

Olympic 400 metres hurdles finalist Ristananna Tracey is hoping to run some 800-metre races in 2017. Tracey expressed the intention at a recent function to honour her, and Anniesha McLaughlin-Whilby and Sashalee Forbes at the G.C. Foster College for Physical Education. She believes that running the two-lap race will enhance her finish in the 400-metre hurdles.

In a review of her 2016 training, the 24-year-old Sprintec athlete acknowledged, "As you all know, I didn't run any 800s this season.

"That's where I think my strength is," she said, "so I think we are going to be looking at that part of my race and improve in that area."

During her days at Edwin Allen, Tracey was a steadfast 800 metres runner. She did a marvellous 400/800/400 hurdles triple in her last year - 2011 - at Boys and Girls' Championships, cutting Melaine Walker's 400-metre hurdles record of 56.55 seconds to 55.81 along the way. She clocked an 800 metres personal best of 2 minutes 03.97 seconds after Champs and dazzled everyone by matching the fastest-ever 800 metres leg by an high school athlete at the Penn Relays with a time of 2.03.2.

NEW RECORD

The strength seemed to help as she set a Jamaican junior 400 metres hurdles record of 54.58 seconds at the National Senior Championships. The old mark of 55.11 seconds had been set by Kaliese Spencer in an effort that secured the gold medal at the 2006 World Junior Championships. During her time at the Racers Track Club, Tracey improved to 54.52. She moved to G.C. Foster to join the Maurice Wilson-coached Sprintec outfit in time to prepare for the 2016 season, and the collaboration spurred her to fifth in the Olympic final with a time of 54.15 seconds.

Now she is the seventh-fastest Jamaican of all-time in the 400 metre hurdles.

Understandably, the athlete, known in track circles as 'Rista', is optimistic about the upcoming season.

"I'm just gonna go back, look at where I can improve and work hard towards it and see where it takes me," she resolved.