Mon | Oct 22, 2018

Sprint hurdle factory - Anderson, Russell lead the new brigade

Published:Tuesday | December 26, 2017 | 12:02 AMRaymond Graham

WITH World and Olympic champion Omar McLeod leading the way at the senior level, the future looks bright for Jamaica in the sprint hurdles event after spectacular performances from our juniors last year in both the male and female sections.

Most impressive were Calabar's 17-year-old titan Dejour Russell and former Vere Technical standout Britany Anderson, who both claimed world titles a few months ago.

It was indeed a dream year for Russell, who a year ago looked a sure bet to capture the title at the IAAF World Junior Championships in Poland, suffered a bad start in the final, which cost him to settle for fourth after posting a world leading time in the preliminary round.

One year later he turned around that disappointment by taking gold in Nairobi at the IAAF World Under-18 Championships in a Championships record of 13.04 seconds. He broke the record twice as in the preliminary round he recorded 13.08 seconds and his only disappointment at the Championships must have been missing out on the World Best at this level of 12.96 seconds, held by his country man, Jaheel Hyde.

Earlier this season, Russell was in record-breaking form at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships and also at the Carifta Games, where he decimated his rivals.

However, his best performance of the year came at the National Senior Championships, where he had the large crowd in a frenzy. Competing with the big boys for the first  time, he nearly made it to the World Championships after a gutsy performance, which saw him finish a close fourth in 13.32 seconds.

Anderson has also proven herself to be a phenomenal talent and is indeed one for the future.

Competing in just her first year in Class Two, she was impressive at every meet in which she featured despite her inexperience in the class. Anderson underlined her dominance at Champs in what was seen by man as the event of the meet. After breaking the record with a personal best of 13.04 seconds in the 100m hurdles, she went on to win the final with ease.

She continued her good form at the Carifta Games in Curacao, where she also wrote her name in the record books after clocking 13.16 seconds.

At the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Kenya, she was at her best as she took gold in a wind-aided 12.72 seconds.

Despite going into the Championships as the world leader, she was not the favourite going into the final as France's Cyrene Samba Mayela got that tag after her 12.80 seconds semi-final run. However, as she has shown all year, with more competition she tends to run faster and with  a gutsy performance she got the better of Mayele.

With the IAAF World  Under-18 Championships down to take place next year it could be a good one for Jamaica in hurdles as Russell  could add the title he missed out in Poland while the likes of Anderson, Freeman and Allison should have a battle royal for the top two spots for Jamaica to that Championships .,