Sat | Jul 4, 2020

Tracey feeling the COVID heat - 400m hurdler says pandemic has severely affected her mentally and financially

Published:Sunday | May 31, 2020 | 12:37 AMRobert Bailey - Gleaner Writer

Ristananna Tracey with the bronze medal she won at the  2017 World Athletics Championships in London.
Ristananna Tracey with the bronze medal she won at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London.

WORLD CHAMPION-SHIPS 400 metres hurdles bronze medallist Ristananna Tracey says the COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected her both mentally and financially.

Up to Friday, Jamaica has recorded 575 confirmed cases of the deadly virus. Two hundred and eighty-nine persons have recovered while there have been nine deaths.

Before the pandemic, the 27-year-old Tracey was making steady progress in her comeback from an Achilles tendon injury, having returned home from overseas to train with the Okeil Stewart-coached track club, UWI Pelicans.

However, her recovery has been cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced the postponement of this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, while the first nine scheduled events of the 15-meet Diamond League have either been postponed, rescheduled or downgraded.

“For me, it has affected my career really badly,” said Tracey. “My previous contract was for three years and it ended last December. The plan was to use this year to prove myself so that I can get back something (a new contract).”

NEW CONTRACT UNLIKELY

She said that getting a contract now is unlikely because most meets have been postponed and she cannot perform to really show that she is fit enough to earn a contract.

“Financially, it has affected me because there is no track meet for us to earn anything and our bills still have to be paid,” Tracey said.

“After I won the bronze medal at the World Championships in 2017, I got hurt the following year. I had knee issues and Achilles tendon issues and that carried me all the way up to 2019. During that time, I had the contract but I was getting cut all the way until I had nothing left to get,” she said.

“I was not fulfilling the obligations of the contract and so you know they are going cut it,” said the former Edwin Allen High School track star.

The London 2017 World Championships bronze medallist underlined that sports manufacturer PUMA, which gave her the three-year contract in 2017, gave her a small bonus contract at the start of this season, which she has been using to pay some of her bills. She understands the position of the sports manufacturer.

“In my opinion, every company is affected by the virus,” she said. “For me, I didn’t get a chance to prove myself this year so that I can get a contract next year,” she added.

“Mentally it is really frustrating and I must say that I am demotivated at the moment. I am just trying to get back my head into the game and to remain positive about the whole situation,” she said.

Tracey, who got married to her partner and national sprinter Kemar Bailey-Cole in March, currently has a personal best time of 53.74 seconds in the 400m hurdles.

She stated that she has kept herself in good shape during the coronavirus pandemic and now plans to return to full training tomorrow.