NATIONAL 400m hurdles champion, Melaine Walker, is the world leader in the event.
Walker, a former St. Jago and University of Texas standout, raced to a world-leading 54.14 seconds clocking at last Sunday's Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon.
That was good enough for her to be named The Gleaner's Top Performer of the Week.
In the one-lap obstacle race, Walker defeated Sheena Johnson (54.44) and Tiffany Ross-Williams (54.95) to beat the previous Prefontaine record of 55.10 set in 1996.
With her present form, multi-talented Walker, who competed in 100, 200, 400m and both hurdles at high school, will be looking forward to the National Championships and World Championships in Japan - with a very good chance to medal at the latter.
Coached by Stephen Francis and managed by Juliet Campbell, a World Indoor 200m champion, Walker, who was third in the 400m hurdles at the 2002 World Juniors, is targeting the national record of 52.82 held by Deon Hemmings-McCatty since 1996.
She is expected to get close, especially with indications from her early season 800m training runs.
Walker is a true hurdler, as she has excelled at both the 100m hurdles and the one-lap event, winning several medals in a successful junior career.
In 2001, Walker teamed up with Nadine Palmer, Veronica Campbell and Lisa Sharpe to win gold for Jamaica at the World Youth Championships in Poland, but her biggest victory to date may have been beating many-time Olympic gold and silver medallist Deon Hemmings at a meet in Barbados that same year.
- Anthony Foster