Sun | Jun 26, 2022

Knight has more to give in 400m hurdles

Published:Monday | May 16, 2022 | 12:09 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Andrenette Knight.
Andrenette Knight.

Ever since 400 metres hurdler Andrenette Knight joined a training group including World Champion Dalilah Muhammad, she says she has been able to push herself harder. The extra push has made the 25-year-old a contender for a place on Jamaica’s team to the 2022 World Athletics Championships in the United States city of Eugene, Oregon.

Last year, the Morant Bay native clocked 55.75 seconds and finished third at the NCAA Championships. With her studies behind her, she joined the Hurdle Mechanics club, and coach Lawrence ‘Boogie’ Johnson has whipped her into shape. Knight is now the tenth fastest Jamaican of all time at 54.39 seconds.

That time came on April 16. “Since I made the commitment to go professional, I have been working superhard, and I’m blessed to be in a training group with a lot of talented women who also run the 400m hurdles, so I have training partners to push me, and ever since I’ve been training here in Texas with this group, I’ve just been able to push myself beyond what I was always able to do, and I think that is what is helping me to produce these good times,” Knight said last Thursday.

Later in April, she slashed her flat 400 metres personal best to 51.64 seconds.

“I’ve been having really good practices, so I really expect some good things from myself,” she predicted.

As she matches strides with Muhammad, the 2021 Olympic runner-up and fellow finalist Gianna Woodruff of Panama at practice, Johnson is helping her to improve. “We have been focusing on my technique, form, and my stride pattern and having a better race plan than I did before,” Knight said.

She almost left the sport after college. “To be completely honest with you, I was one of those people who was going to retire and put track and field up, but I was having a conversation with my college coach. She’s always encouraging me to continue,” she recalled of 1997 World Indoor 60 metres hurdles winner Michelle Freeman. “And then after I talked with Coach Johnson and that just solidified everything. I always knew I had more to give,” Knight asserted.

She runs this weekend in Jacksonville, Florida, but ultimately, she will be at the National Championships next month, toe to toe with a talented group of rivals for those three tickets to Eugene. They include 2021 Olympic fourth-place finisher Janieve Russell, who leads the Jamaican yearly performance list at 54.08 seconds, 2019 World Championships bronze medal winner Rushell Clayton, and 2019 semi-finalist Shian Salmon.

Knight shied away from a Nationals prediction but said: “I feel pretty confident about what I’m doing right now and where I’m at in my training. I know it’s a talented group of women that we have representing Jamaica in the 400 metres hurdles, so I’m just excited to be a part of that.”