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Wilson mastering 400m hurdles

Published:Tuesday | July 16, 2019 | 12:34 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

Sprintec Track Club and G.C. Foster coach Maurice Wilson is steadily mastering the nuances of the 400m hurdles, and this year, his athletes, Shiann Salmon and Ronda Whyte, occupy two of the three Jamaican team spots for the upcoming IAAF World Championships. Wilson says the event excites him technically.

Wilson, the man who directed Janieve Russell to the 2012 World Under-20 title and Ristananna Tracey to the 2017 World Championship bronze, admitted, “It’s an event which I’m excited about the technical improvements that can be made, so I’m always in the field of seeing how we can fix certain things to improve our times.”

His coaching approach merges with that of his love for the flat 400m.

“That was through what I saw Bert Cameron do in 1983; I think it was the ... World Championships in Helsinki.”

“So I have always tried to put both components together in terms of running over the obstacles and running the flat 400m and see how we can improve times.”


Asked about the prospects for Salmon and Whyte, who placed second and third at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Junior and Senior Athletics Championships (Trials), he bemoaned the June 20-23 date.

“Well, I’m going over spilt milk, but it’s just unfortunate that the Trials have been so early,” he rued, “because if the Trials were at the end of July, it would have been perfect because then you’d have been able to get in some more races before, and so on.”

Significantly, the United States and Canada will have their National Championships late in July, with Britain staging its equivalent in August.

Salmon, the 2018 World Under-20 runner-up, went to the college as preparation for a US scholarship.

“It is difficult to speak for the youngster, which is Salmon, because she came here to do a couple of months and then to move on to college,” Wilson said. “It’s a decision that she and her family will have to make.

“We’re just facilitating a process. So in the interim, we will continue to plan with her, depending on what she wants to do.”

Wilson believes that Whyte can run much faster than the time of 55.41 seconds the 2018 CAC Games champion produced at Trials.

“What I would love to happen for Whyte is for her to run more high-level competitive events because I know that she’s at least a second faster – and this is not a joke – than what she did at the National Trials”, the coach calculated.

The 400 metres hurdles roster is completed by national champion Rushell Clayton, who set a personal best 54.73 seconds to win at Trials.