Tue | Dec 18, 2018

KC made me - Graham hails impact of personal experience at 'Purples'

Published:Saturday | August 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMAkino Ming/Staff Reporter
Lennox Graham (left) in discussion with hurdler Danielle Williams during a training session in Birmingham ahead of the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.

Lennox Graham, the coach of former world champion Danielle Williams and world number three in the 400m hurdles Kyron McMaster, believes it was the endless days and nights he spent at Kingston College (KC) as a coach that has made him into one of the in demand hurdles coaches in the world today.

The Clemson University sprint and hurdles coach guided 'The Purples' to six of their 31 Boys Champs titles, and he believes it was those formative years as a coach at 2A North Street why athletes and coaches regard him as a hurdles guru.

"A lot of people would see it now, but obviously it started a long time ago from my days as a coach at KC. We used to stay down there till two in the morning sometimes, and it continued with Leford Green, Shermaine Williams, Rosemarie Carty and Samantha Elliot at Johnson C Smith University," Graham explained. "It is a learning experience every year. I have learned to be patient and tweak new things each year. For example, Danielle, she has been with me for seven years now and every year we have to find a way to get her faster over the hurdles."

In his last year in charge of KC, Graham swept all the hurdles events in the boys' category at Champs. But it was his work with the Williams sisters, Green and McMaster, who represents the British Virgin Island, which has thrust him into the spotlight as the go-to man for the hurdles.

 

GREAT SEASON

 

Williams and McMaster are enjoying one of the best seasons of their careers. Having won titles at the Commonwealth Games, Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC) and North America, Central America and Caribbean Championships (NACAC), McMaster registered the third fastest 400m hurdles times in the world this year with his 47.54 seconds effort.

Williams, who finished second in the 100m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games and NACAC Championships, also ran a lifetime best this year with 12.48 seconds.

Their exploits over the past few seasons have caught the eyes of many hurdlers, who want to be under the tutelage of Graham. "I am focused on Clemson right now, so I don't want my group to get too big," Graham said.

 

NUGENT JOINS TRAINING

 

Recently, Olympian Leah Nugent announced that she will be joining Graham and his group when training for the 2019 athletics season begins in the fall.

"We (Graham) connected well in 2016 at the Rio Olympics. I like his coaching style, and I believe I will be able to reach the goals that I have set with him," said Nugent, who underlined the importance of this change, considering the upcoming cycle of global athletics events.

According to Graham, his objective for his growing elite group remains to maximise their potentials.

"What is at the forefront of my mind whoever comes in front of me, I try to get the best out of them," Graham said.