Mon | Dec 6, 2021

James lauds comeback kid Allen

Published:Friday | May 3, 2019 | 12:14 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

Behind the bright smile of Carifta Games 400-metre runner-up Anna-Kay Allen is the heart of a conqueror. Her fine 2019 campaign has come against the background of injury troubles she has fought in recent seasons. Now, it’s full speed ahead.

Allen, an outgoing senior at St Catherine High School, had the wind in her sails when she won the Class Three 400 metres at the 2015 edition of Champs in 53.46 seconds. The hamstring troubles she has endured since make her Carifta silver medal even more rewarding.

“You know, it’s a great season coming back from a terrible injury three years out, so I’m very pleased,” she said just after getting her silver medal at the games.

That was followed by a gold medal for her part in the Under-20 4x400 metres and a sprint to the 125th Penn Relays in Philadelphia, where she also performed well.

Her coach, Marlon James, noted, “I thought that Anna-Kay’s coming from Carifta, where she did 54.8 on the third leg, and she recovered well to do 54.1 on Thursday, and I think that it’s a beautiful, excellent leg by her.”

Her great 2015 season was followed by a ruined 2016 effort, bronze in the Class Two 400m in 2017, and a complete Champs wipeout last year. Patience and healing has contributed to her return to the fast lane. Second at Central Champs in 54.42 seconds, she have accelerated to a fast-finishing fourth-place 53.74 at Champs and 53.53 at the Carifta Games.

Out of the medals at Champs, she was beaming on the podium at Carifta. Asked if her silver for Jamaica balanced out a miss in her last individual medal shot at Champs, she smiled and said, “Yes, it really does.”

Her short-term target is the Pan-American Junior Championship in July, but James thinks she can go much further.

“I think straight Olympics; she’s going to be an Olympian,” he said.

With that in mind, athlete and coach are surveying the collegiate options.

“I want to put her in the best hands for the next three to four years,” James said. “Of course, the collegiate scene is where we want to put her, but we’re still searching, and we’re undecided right now,” he said.