Golding-Clarke hails J’can hurdlers, coaches
A year ago, the home-trained pair of Ronald Levy and Janieve Russell won two of the four hurdling gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. Unknown to many, the other two hurdles champions at that Games also had Jamaican coaches. One of them is Lacena Golding-Clarke, who says those four victories are a testimony to the dedication and passion of Jamaican coaches.
Golding-Clarke tutored Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan to the 100 metre hurdles gold medal at those Games 16 years after she won the same title. In reference to her work, and the work done by Lennox Graham, who tutors the men’s 400 metre hurdles winner Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands and the coaches at the MVP Track Club, where Russell and Levy train, Golding-Clarke says the winning element is dedication.
“I think we’re dedicated to what we do,” she surmised in an interview at the Carifta Games last month in Grand Cayman. “We love it. We have a passion for getting these athletes to be the best they can be,” the 2004 Olympic finalist shared.
“On my part, I have been there,” submitted the University of Texas El Paso hurdles coach. “I just want them to have that success that I had and parts of the success I didn’t have, so I’m coaching my hurdlers to be the best in the world, you know, even if they are freshmen in college.”
She was thrilled to help Amusan win the gold.
“You know, I didn’t have any doubt that she could have won that gold medal. I was preparing her for it ... and I know for a fact that she’s focused and ready and she knew that I’d won in 2002.”
Amusan defeated Jamaica’s 2015 World champion Danielle Williams to take the top spot last year at the Games.
Golding-Clarke has the highest admiration for Graham and Williams and says that young Jamaican hurdlers should use her as a model.
“A lot of them, they start young, very good, but they kind of wither away sometimes, and I’m not sure If they have the right mentors,” she said. “I’m happy how Danielle is doing because she has a great mentor. She has someone who knows exactly how she can become a true champion, so I’m happy for that.”
“I just wish the others, the younger ones, can take note and their coaches can lead them in the right direction,” Golding-Clarke said.
As a schoolgirl, Golding-Clarke was part of the powerhouse Vere Technical High School track and field programme. She says the fundamentals she learnt at Vere help her as a coach today. “They brought in some of the best coaches around Jamaica who just came in just to teach us technique, and so John Messam was that person for me. I’m just thankful that I had one of the best,” she said of Messam, who himself was the 1978 Carifta under-20 110 metres hurdles champion.
She also thanked Fitz Coleman, coach of Olympic, World, and Commonwealth medal winner Hansle Parchment for the role he played in her career.