Mon | Jul 6, 2020

Wignall mentoring new hurdles generation

Published:Tuesday | April 23, 2019 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

Twenty-four years ago, Maurice Wignall was one of the stars of the 24th Carifta Games in Grand Cayman. Now, the dean of Jamaican sprint hurdlers is back in Cayman as part of the coaching staff to the 2019 Carifta team. Wignall is using his experience to counsel his charges at the 48th staging of the regional junior track and field championships.

“It’s actually nice because I’m coaching the things I came here to compete at,” he said at a Jamaica team training session. “I’m comfortable with it, the kids like it, I’m facilitating. What else could I ask for?”

In 1995, Wignall was hampered by a headwind in his Under-20 110m hurdles victory but boosted by a strong tailwind when he won the long jump.

He has fond memories of 1995. In addition to his Jamaican teammates, he noted, “You have Cydonie Mothersill from Cayman, who was running at the time Debbie Ferguson, who was running at the time, so it was a big family, and those persons went on to become elite athletes like myself.” Mothersill and Ferguson, who, like Wignall, became Commonwealth champions, were both present at the games this week.

“You get a little bit nostalgic when you come to places like this after, what is it, 24 years ago or something like that,” he conceded.

He is using his Cayman experience to counsel Broadbell, Vascianna and those others under his care at Carifta.

“My advice to anybody, and them, in particular, is just to relax, enjoy the atmosphere, go out there, execute whatever has been taught and just lay it on the line, but, at the bottom line, just enjoy everything,” he said. “I didn’t want them to come here and pressure themselves. We’ve done all the work we needed to do, just go out there and execute and enjoy the little escape from Jamaica,” he said.