Fri | Nov 16, 2018

Posterboy McLeod? - Sprint hurdler prefers to focus on improving

Published:Thursday | January 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment/Sports News Coordinator
Omar Mcleod (right) looks up after crossing the line in first place during the IAAF World Championships in London last year.

Omar McLeod, reigning 110m World and Olympic champion said that he is focused on improving and is not too concerned about whether people consider him to be the new face of Jamaican track and field..

McLeod, who is considered a favourite for the RJRGLEANER Sports Foundation National Sportsman of the Year Award, was Jamaica's only gold medallist at the IAAF World Championships in London, England, last summer.

Public opinion has been that at 23-year-old, the former Manchester High School and Kingston College standout is the athlete to lead Jamaica forward in track and field after Usain Bolt's retirement from the sport last year.

"I would assume, and I would hope [that people see me as the new poster boy for Jamaican track and field], but that's not really my thing," McLeod told The Gleaner. "I just want to be myself as best as possible. To be myself, I don't really care who accepts me or not. As long as I am myself and I'm comfortable with that and I'm winning races, then that's all that matters."

The Rio 2016 Olympic champion also said that the notion that more should be done to create more personalities like Bolt in track and field is wrong.




"I don't think you should try to force something out of somebody," he said. "You cannot push a certain personality on somebody. Everyone has to shine their own light and go their own way. If you're all about being serious and laser focused at the line, if that's what works for you, that's what works for you. Usain Bolt, he charms people, and that's how he relaxes. That's how he wins, because he relaxes and he likes to interact with the crowd. Everybody just has to be their own person and in their own way."

McLeod registered another massively successful year last season.

In addition to his gold-medal run in London, he also posted seven of the eight fastest times in the 110m hurdles event last year and established a new national record - 12.90 seconds, at the National Senior Championships, making him the sixth-fastest sprint hurdler of all time. He also clocked a national indoor record - 20.48 - in the 200m; results that earned him an IAAF World Athlete of the Year nomination.

McLeod has also received the RJRGLEANER Honour Award's special award for sports for 2017.