Fri | Sep 22, 2023

Steps in the right direction for Hughes

Published:Monday | May 29, 2023 | 12:48 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Zharnel Hughes (centre) competing in the men’s 100m heats at Velocity Fest 13 held at the National Stadium on Saturday, April 22, 2023.
Zharnel Hughes (centre) competing in the men’s 100m heats at Velocity Fest 13 held at the National Stadium on Saturday, April 22, 2023.

British sprinter Zharnel Hughes views his impressive 200 metres win at the May 20 JAAA All-Comers meet from two different perspectives. On one hand, he wanted to run a little bit faster than the 20.18 second clocking he was credited with. More importantly, he is pleased with the progress he’s making.

It was an improvement over his first 200m of the year, a 20.25-second success inside the same National Stadium venue on March 25 and follows consistent 100m times of 10.04, 10.07 and 10.01. The 2022 European 200m champion gave himself a passing grade after the May 20 race.

“I feel pretty good. It’s a steady progress. I obviously wanted to run a little faster tonight, but progress is progress, and you have to be grateful for it. Most of all, I’m healthy, mentally and physically, so I’m happy I came away with the victory tonight,” he said.

The Jamaica-based Racers Track Club sprinter is trusting that coach Glen Mills will get him ready for this year’s World Athletics Championships, which is set a month later than the 2022 staging.

“He knows best, and he is a man for the championships, so I have no worries in my mind,” he said confidently about the man who also tutors Jamaican speedball Oblique Seville.

Then he counterbalanced his wish to run a bit quicker.

“You know, today was just another stepping stone to see where we’re at. It’s not the time to run extremely fast as yet,” he explained, with reference to the August 19 start date of the World Championships. “Sometimes you get caught up by seeing other people running quick and you want to go fast as well, but you’ve got to be able to trust the progress and trust what the coach is doing, and this week was a heavy (training) week. I have to remind myself I had a hard week this week, but to still come out and run 20.1, it’s a step in the right direction,” the 2021 Olympic 100m finalist underlined.

As good as his All-Comers performance was, it wasn’t perfect.

“I just tried to hold my form to get to the finish line as relaxed as I possibly could, and I felt myself tie up a little bit towards the line, which I didn’t like, but as I said, it was a heavy week. Come Racers Grand Prix, it should be a lot better than that,” he promised.

Hughes reached the 2015 World Championships 200m final and though he was European 100m champion in 2018, he will contest the curved sprint at the Racers Grand Prix on June 3.

“I’m running the 200m. I was hoping I’d run the 100m, but I’m in the 200m,” he revealed.