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Resilient Rista! - Tracey continues to soar after comeback campaign

Published:Tuesday | January 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMDwayne Extol/Gleaner Writer

Following her exploits at the 2017 IAAF World Championships, 400m hurdles bronze medallist Ristananna Tracey makes her debut as a nominee for this year's RJRGleaner Sports Foundation National Sportswoman of the Year Award.

Tracey's World Championship performance, which saw her leave London as Jamaica's sole individual female medallist, has positioned her as the front-runner for this year's award. The RJRGleaner Sports Foundation National Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards is set for January 19 at The Jamaica Pegasus.

"It is an honour to be nominated for this award alongside these two other great athletes. Elaine (Thompson) and Alia (Atkinson) have both won the award, so it is truly humbling to be mentioned in the same category as them," Tracey shared.

She believes winning the award would be a great honour and tremendous achievement.

However, her crowning moment did not come without trial, as she reflected on the high and low points of the 2017 campaign.

"The low point was finding out after the Rabat Diamond League (that) I had a pinched nerve in my back, which was the reason for other niggles, which hindered me from competing at my best on the circuit," said Tracey.

Nevertheless, despite the challenges of 2017, the Clarendon native was pleased with how she navigated her way through to joining Deon Hemmings and Melaine Walker as World Championships medallists in the event.

"My season was amazing," said a contemplative Tracey. "I had some challenges but all my goals were met, and I'm grateful."

Maurice Wilson, head coach of Sprintec Track Club - the man credited with preparing Tracey for the championships, believes his athlete is deserving of this year's award.

"I am extremely pleased and happy for her (Tracey). I think she has done enough to be considered for this award, and her nomination for the award, is an indicator that her accomplishment has not gone unnoticed.

"I personally believe being the only female medallist at the World Championships more than qualifies her to take home this award," acclaimed the G.C. Foster College head track and field coach.

The 25-year-old was participating in her fourth senior World Championships after making prior appearances in Daegu (2011), Moscow (2013) and Beijing (2015). A semi-finalist in Daegu and Moscow, Tracey failed to advance from her heat in Beijing.




According to Tracey, those performances proved essential to her growth and maturity, which led her to a podium finish in London.

"They always say experience teaches wisdom.

"I've learnt how to take each round a step at a time, and I've gained mental toughness. Most importantly, I have learnt how to believe in my race strategies and stick to them as best as possible and to believe in my abilities," remarked Tracey, who became the fourth-fastest Jamaican in the event after her performance in London.

With the Commonwealth Games on the horizon, Tracey has set her sights on continuing to build on her World Championship achievement.

"I am definitely looking forward to the Commonwealth Games and also praying for an injury-free season."

While she wants to leave her mark on the track, Tracey is also determined to use her platform to make an impact off the track, as well.

"We are interested in uplifting and building youths in society. We are aiming to do this through sponsorships, mentorships, and community projects. I must say a big thank you to (those who supported us). We are interested in anyone willing to help to make this bigger," shared the co-founder of the Rista and Bailey-Cole Foundation, which she founded with 2014 Commonwealth 100m champion and long-time partner, Kemar Bailey-Cole.