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'I am in the best shape of my life' - Spencer eyes 400m hurdles world record

Published:Saturday | January 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMAkino Ming
Kaliese Spencer

Forget the 53.72 seconds she ran yesterday in the 400 metres flat at the Queen's-Grace Jackson track meet at the National Stadium.

Kaliese Spencer told The Sunday Gleaner yesterday that she believes that 2018 will be the best season of her career as she looks to topple the world record in the 400 metres hurdles.

Spencer, who has a personal best of 52.79 seconds in the 400mh, said that her preparation thus far indicates that she should be able to run faster than Yuliya Penchonkina's 2003 world record of 52.34.

"I think I am in the best shape of my life," Spencer, who will be 31 in May, said. "It probably sounds a way seeing that I am getting up in age right now, but I am going to be honest with you. I am in much better shape than I have ever been. I am stronger, faster, and I think the world record is in my reach."

She noted, though, that it will be hard to top her 2014 season, which she regards as the best season of her career to date.

That season, she was ranked number one in the world in the 400m hurdles, finished second in the 400m at the World Indoor championships, and was the Diamond League winner.

"I have had some great seasons, especially 2014, when I was ranked number one in the world for 400m hurdles. But based on what I have doing in training, I believe that I am in much better shape than then," Spencer said during yesterday's Queen's-Grace Jackson meet.




She said that she is also looking to run under 50 seconds this year in the 400m. "My PR is 50.1, so I believe that I will be able to run under 50 seconds this season," Spencer predicted.

Though she hopes to produce great times this year, Spencer's main objective remains to win a gold medal at the IAAF World Championships or the Olympic Games.

"We don't have any of those games this year, so my main focus is just staying healthy and competing on the circuit," Spencer said.

She is hoping to compete at the World Indoor Championships in March.

"I am not sure how they will be selecting the teams, but I will be ensuring that I am in great shape and prepare for whatever comes up," Spencer said.

Spencer will be having her first full season of competition since she was cleared by the Independent Anti-doping Disciplinary Panel last June of charges that she had refused to provide a sample for testing.

The panel unanimously decided that they were "not persuaded by the standard of evidence provided" by the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission, which had accused the Olympic and World Championships competitor of committing the anti-doping offence on April 27, 2016.