Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Russell can do great things - Wignall

Published:Saturday | May 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence

Maurice Wignall, the dean of Jamaican sprint hurdlers, has his eye on De'Jour Russell and is impressed by what he has seen.

Wignall believes the youngster will need to be patient as he makes the transition from junior to senior competition but is certain that he can do tremendous things in the future.

"I like De'Jour," Wignall shared with a knowing tone in his voice at the launch of the 2018 Jamaica Invitational in Kingston on Wednesday.

"I like what he's been doing. I like his performance at last year's Trials," Wignall recalled of Russell's fourth-place run and time of 13.32 seconds. "That was very impressive."

Russell went on to win the World Under-18 Championship 110 metre hurdles gold medal. Since then, he has returned to lower his own ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships Class One record to 13.10 seconds and to reach the final at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Given all of that, Wignall projected, "I think he has a very, very, very, bright future."

The Champs record is just 0.04 seconds off Tyler Mason's national junior record of 13.06 seconds.




Wignall, twice an Olympic finalist, nevertheless issued a note of caution.

"What I believe though, making the transition from a high schooler to the elite status, it might be a bit of a struggle for him," he worried. "He just needs to be a little bit patient and listen to his coaches and focus very hard on the things you need to do to compete with the world and not just Jamaican athletes.

"If he continues on that basis, we could see bright things from him," added the 2006 Commonwealth champion, "

Wignall also spoke to the concern some have over Russell's powerful build.

"It might be a bit of a hindrance with his size, but if he can remain flexible and quick, he could be one of the persons that cause us to say, 'I know De'Jour Russell'."

The 18-year-old Calabar High School student-athlete reached the Commonwealth Games final last month. He is also a former Class Two 100-metre champion at Champs, and in fact, won the 100m at this year's Carifta Trials.

"He's a powerful guy, so he can go much faster, and he can do tremendous things," said Wignall.