London 2017 | Thompson steps back into global spotlight
When Yanique Thompson won gold in the 100 metres hurdles at the 2013 World Youth Championships in Donetsk in a stunning 12.94 seconds, it seemed certain she would be storming tracks and dominating at the senior level in no time.
However, injuries and several other factors have contributed to what has been a rough and miserable transitional period for the one-time Holmwood Technical star sprint hurdler, who, a year later, lost both at Champs and at the World Junior Championships, before finishing eighth at the Pan Am Junior Championships.
She had almost become the forgotten wonder, but four years after that run in Donetsk, Thompson is just a few days away from stepping back into the global spotlight at the World Championships in London, where she will make her debut at the senior international level.
Her coach, Maurice Wilson, describes the comeback as his greatest coaching achievement, and revealed that it took a lot of recommitment on her part - and a reality check on his - to get the former teenage sensation back on track.
"She is the greatest achievement for myself as a coach as well as the team around me. The transition was extremely difficult for her. She came to us with a lot of injuries and the psychology of not understanding what it meant to be a senior. It is easy when you can beat athletes at your age group, but when you are against world beaters, the transition, approach and discipline are totally different," Wilson told The Gleaner before pointing to a frank discussion between himself and Thompson, which might have changed her career.
"The turning point for her was when I informed her that if I was not able to assist her this season, I would personally seek out other coaches who could assist her. I am not afraid to ask Glen Mills or Stephen Francis or whoever. As a matter of fact, I would have asked Stephen Francis a year ago, but I did not actually get a response from him, or else she would have been over at MVP. Stephen is not the type of person who loves to intervene when it comes to coaches and athletes, but I think that made a difference," said Wilson.
Wilson is now hoping the 21-year-old will continue to apply herself and has no doubts she will achieve similar success as a senior if she does so.
"I am hoping that she now has the understanding of what it takes to perform at this level, and I really believe that she is going to be one of the world beaters in the next two years if she continues in this mode," said Wilson, who has been coaching her for more than seven years.
Thompson lowered her personal best to 12.69 seconds to finish third at the National Senior Championships in June.