Praught-Leer back to her old self
BACK TO full fitness, two-time national 1500-metre champion Aisha Praught-Leer says she is relishing the opportunity to make her return to the World Athletics Championships with a new lease on life two years after injury threatened to call time on...
BACK TO full fitness, two-time national 1500-metre champion Aisha Praught-Leer says she is relishing the opportunity to make her return to the World Athletics Championships with a new lease on life two years after injury threatened to call time on her decade-long career.
Praught-Leer finished second in the women’s 1500m final at the JAAA/PUMA National Senior and Junior Championships on July 7 behind Adelle Tracey, who won her first national title.
Praught-Leer’s focus will be tackling the 5000m at the World Championships in Budapest, but for her, the performance was a signal that she is back to where she wants to be in all aspects of her game.
“It has taken me a while to get back to form after my surgery in 2021. But I am finally feeling good physically, mentally. Getting my confidence back and starting to race the way that I want to,” Praught-Leer told The Sunday Gleaner.
It has been a long road back for Praught-Leer since suffering a meniscus tear days before she was to travel to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. And while she ran in the heats of the 1500m, her season was immediately over and she had to have surgery to repair the damage.
While the Jamaican middle-distance guru was not sure whether she would return to the track, the time off was not completely stressful since she was able to spend more time with the people that mean the most to her.
“The positive is that I feel fresher because I had six months off, and we weren’t sure if I would be able to come back. We didn’t know if it was going to be a career-ender or not. But I figured I am going to wake up every day with a good attitude and try to make each day better and make the progress I needed to make and think in spaces, small goals to get myself back,” Praught-Leer said. “This will be my 11th summer racing as a professional. It is hard. It is a really hard game and got some time to be home, be with my family, be with my husband and not be travelling. It was almost like a mini-break within a break. I was superfocused the whole time, living like a monk. But it was that true rest that I hadn’t gotten in probably 12 years, so it felt nice.”
Praught-Leer’s answer about being able to recover to full fitness was simple.
“Never stop running ever. That’s the secret. But I am just coming around. I am starting to feel good again,” Praught-Leer said.
Evidence of that was shown earlier this year when she broke the national indoor mile record, clocking 4:31.48 minutes.
And while she is preparing herself mentally for the challenge of the 5000m in four weeks, Praught-Leer said claiming the record was a reminder of what she hopes to be for the next set of Jamaican long-distance runners
“That was such a boost. Now Adelle and I are out here battling for these records. But it is a big goal of mine to break every national record above 800. I’m still on that pursuit. It was such an amazing moment to remember why I do this, and it is to inspire the next generation,” Praught-Leer said.