Levy launches into 2019
Last year, Ronald Levy joined the short list of Jamaicans who have won the sprint hurdles at the Commonwealth Games. This year, Levy has his sights locked on the World Championships. In addition, he wants to hurdle past the 13-second barrier.
Levy, the third-fastest 110 metres hurdler in the world last year at 13.16 seconds, is dialled into Doha, the city hosting his main target meet. “World Championships – that is the main focus, main aim,” he explained from the stands at last Saturday’s John Wolmer Speed Fest.
“I want to be on the podium, but, you know, I have to put in the work to reach on the podium so it’s just work for now,” he said.
Accompanying that medal goal is the desire to reach sub-13 territory.
“To be an elite, you need to be running sub-13 or something like that,” said the MVP Track Club athlete. “My aim is to go to sub-13,” said the man with a personal best of 13.05 seconds.
Omar McLeod and Hansle Parchment, with times of 12.90 and 12.94 seconds, respectively, are the only Jamaican men to have broken the time-honoured barrier. Overall, 20 men have done it with 2012 Olympic champion Aries Merritt holding the world record at 12.80 seconds.
The former Rusea’s High and St Elizabeth Technical High athlete started training in January and is hoping to build on his accomplishments of last season. “2018 was a good year for me, [I] finished third in the world so I’m just looking forward to this year,” he said.
During his days at the University of Technology, Jamaica, Levy ran 10.17 seconds for 100 metres. While he isn’t sure if he will run any 100-metre races, his collegiate years give him a special perspective on American Grant Holloway, who beat McLeod once last year in the indoor 60 metres hurdles.
The University of Florida student athlete has run 6.51 seconds for the flat 60m this season and a world-leading time of 7.43 seconds in the 60 metres hurdles, earning kudos from Levy.
“That kid is great in my book,” said the fourth Jamaican to be Commonwealth Games champion after Keith Gardner, Maurice Wignall and Andrew Riley. “He’s running like 6.4, 6.5, going 60,” he noted. “He’s great, but he’s in the college system,” Levy observed, “so I want to see what he does after the college system.”
The Jamaican was unlucky enough to injure himself as he warmed up for his heat in the 2017 World Championships in London, but he doesn’t dwell on it. “That’s in the past,” he said. “I can only look to the future now,” he said.
Instead, he’s proud of Jamaica’s current depth in his prime event, the 110 metres hurdles.
“Jamaica’s 110m hurdles is very strong,” he stated, “and you have Rohan Cole; he’s up and coming, and he’s going to be a force.”
Cole, a training partner of Levy and former STETHS teammate, won the 110m hurdles at Speed Fest. In 2014, Cole won the Class Two event for STETHS at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships.