Thu | Nov 23, 2017

London 2017 | Praught-Leer confident ahead of 3000m steeplechase final

Published:Friday | August 11, 2017 | 12:26 AMAndre Lowe
Aisha Praught-Leer

LONDON, England: 
Aisha Praught-Leer has pointed to her coaching change and a number of other adjustments in her life as the reasons behind what has been her best season to date. 

Praught-Leer, who will today line up in the women’s 3000 metres steeplechase event inside the London Stadium at 9:25 p.m. (3:25 p.m. Jamaica time) at the World Championships, is the country’s third finalist in the event since it was first contested in 2005 in Helsinki. Korene Hinds was fourth in that final, with Mardrea Hyman finishing in eighth place.   

The US-born athlete recently moved her training base from Oregon to the high altitude settings of Boulder, Colorado, where she is now being trained by Joe Bosshard and is also training alongside Olympic bronze medallist Emma Coburn. 

Praught-Leer, who also competed in the final at last year’s Olympic Games, was fourth in her heat in 9:26.37 and will enter tonight’s medal race full of confidence after a season that saw her lowering the national record to 9:19.29, which was the ninth fastest time coming into the World Championships. 

The athlete said last year’s Olympic final was an eye-opener for here and having committed to compete for another four-year cycle, Praught-Leer said she decided to go all out and step outside of her comfort zone; and the effect has been immediate. 

“Yes a lot has changed, as you know I have a new training group,” said Praught-Leer.

“Things just hadn’t clicked quite yet and I really wanted a training partner for steeplechase and really after the Olympics, I was bummed out after my performance and I said that I wanted to do this for four more years through the next Olympic cycle and if I am going to go forward I am going to really bear down and go all out.

“So I went out of my comfort zone and started training with someone who is one of the best in the world also to see if I had what it took and so far it is going well,” she said. 

“So far it’s job done, I am feeling good about my qualification to the final,” Praught-Leer said before speaking to the challenging conditions that she had to compete in. “Honestly, the cold makes it feel harder, it was raining and we were constantly getting wetter every lap but I really tried to stay calm and focus because that’s what the steeplechase is all about plus everyone else in the race was also cold, it wasn’t just me.”

Still she will be hoping for better conditions during the final and is looking to produce a special performance. 

“It’s awesome. I have really felt the love from the supporters here. It was quiet during the race and I think the crowd was really cold, but I could hear the Jamaicans right throughout the race and it’s awesome to give our people something else to cheer for and look forward to,” said Praught-Leer.