#Champs2023 | Smith Band banks on form of his life
In a season where he has returned to his best, Jamaica College's Malique Smith Band is hoping that form could result in a memorable performance in the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships Class I boys’ 400 metres inside the National Stadium tonight.
Smith Band used a new personal best time of 46.66 seconds, the fastest time among the field, to qualify for the final scheduled for 9:30 p.m. The time eclipses his previous best of 47.58 which he set at the Corporate Area Championships earlier this month.
It has been a season where he has continued to get better each race, far removed from the injury-plagued struggles that limited his campaign last year, something that he has battled hard to overcome this season.
"I was injured for most of the season last year. This year I came back stronger, running personal bests right through each race. So I am just looking forward to more," Smith Band said.
“Coach [Neil] Harrison has always told me to stick to the plan and keep focused.”
That focus has led to his first chance at seeing the podium this year, as he is also slated to compete in the 200m.
In the semi-final where he set the pace for the field, Smith Band says that his performance was just a matter of keeping it simple.
"I think I did what was necessary to go to the next round. And I think my coach and all the managing staff are very proud. We are just taking it one step at a time," Smith Band said.
It will far from simple come tonight as he will face Edwin Allen's Delano Kennedy, the favourite in the event. Kennedy had the fastest time heading into Champs. Although he is cognisant of the tough competition that lies in wait, Smith Band is relishing a strong battle to the finish, not taking anything for granted.
"I respect all my competitors and I will not doubt anyone but it will be a good race."
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