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I feel no pressure – Walker

Published:Monday | June 29, 2015 | 4:30 PMLeighton Levy
Melaine Walker competes at the JAAA Supreme Ventures Senior National Athletcis Championships at the National Stadium.

Olympic 400-metre gold medallist and World champion Melaine Walker is under no pressure of expectation as she tries to scale the heights she once achieved over the one-lap hurdles event in her new discipline, the sprint hurdles.

"I feel no pressure at all because this is something that Melaine wants to do. It's not about what everybody else is saying. If I had thought about what everybody else is saying all my life, then I probably would not have been here.

"I always back myself in something that I think I can achieve, and I will just work at it until I get it. That is how I think I become successful at whatever I am doing," Walker said on Sunday after a fifth-place finish in the 100-metre hurdles semi-finals on the final day of the national championships.

The four-day championships were held to select Jamaica's team to the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, where seven years ago, Walker won Olympic gold.

It was a rare appearance on a local track for the athlete, who, after an uncharacteristically poor performance at the Olympic Games in London in 2012, was involved in an acrimonious split in March 2013 from Stephen Francis, the head coach at the MVP Track Club, over what she claimed was his refusal to coach her to run the sprint hurdles.

It was something she said they agreed to when she joined the club after completing her college career. Since then, she virtually dropped out of sight.

So what has she been up to?

"I have been here, doing what I need to do. I have been out there. I have been training. There are times when I am way on top and I wish I could just go to a track meet and run, but it's still in a training year and sometimes I get injured," said Walker, who is being coached by hurdles coach Fitz Coleman. "But I believe in myself and I will rise to the top. I won't stop until I do that."

happy fans

Walker has competed at some small meets in the USA and has gone as fast as 13-point, much faster than the 13.59 she ran on Sunday.

"It was not a time I was looking forward to because I have run much faster than that in my first race, but obviously, I have to bear in mind that I am injured, and I have decided to come out and run just because the fans have been waiting for so long and I wanted them to see my face," she said.

The fans were glad to see her, app-lauding and cheering when she was announced before she ran in the second of three semi-final heats.

"I liked the support, it was really good and I will be back," she said.

She, however, was not pleased about how she ran the race.

"I know what the form was supposed to feel like, but I didn't think I executed it at all because I am learning so much in such a short time.

"I haven't been able to grasp it yet, but I think once I do, I will be fine," said Walker.

She said that she would be trying to get into a few meets to run herself into shape and set a platform for 2016.