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'There wasn't any fire'

Published:Tuesday | August 7, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Jamaica's Melaine Walker (centre) lags behind the field in the women's 400-metre hurdles semi-final in the London Olympic Stadium at the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, yesterday. Nigeria's Muizat Ajoke Odumosu (second right) leads the field. Walker failed to advance after finishing sixth in 55.74 seconds. - Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer

André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter

Walker ambles over hurdles semi-final flop

LONDON, England:

A week ago defending Olympic 400m hurdles champion, Melaine Walker, was full of confidence heading into the London spectacle.

Last night inside the London Olympic Stadium, the former World Championships gold and silver medallist was anything but herself, as she failed to advance to tomorrow's final.

Her post-race interview was even stranger.

"Everybody may want to beat Melaine, but they also know that Melaine always shows up for the championships," said Walker from the team's pre-Olympic training camp in Birmingham.

However, last night, with a spot in the final at stake, Walker seemed uninterested, suggested that there were several issues affecting her and pointed out that perhaps the 'fire' was not there.

"I can't tell you what happened, I just feel like I had a bad day," said a smiling Walker, moments after her sixth-place 55.74 clocking in the women's 400m semi-final. "I don't know what happened, maybe I'm not feeling the fire anymore.

"There are plenty other finals that can be made and I don't think it's a very big deal.

"The only thing left for me to do is to break the world records and that can be broken on any day, so it's just a bad day," she said.

Walker, who ran 54.78 to finish second in the heats on Sunday, is widely adored for her fighting spirit and never-say-die attitude.

Relationship with MVP

She seemed rather uninterested from start to finish. Asked about her motivation coming into the championships and the relationship with her MVP Track Club, she responded:

"I mean, you have people training under worse situations, so I always have to look at that. Every time that you think you are going through something there is always someone in a worse situation and in everything I am always grateful," Walker said, before adding that she expects to return for the IAAF World Championships in Athletics next year, but perhaps with a few changes.

"Probably not in the 400m hurdles, I'm not sure but yes (I intend to compete at the World Championships). There is no bottom line to anything, but in my mind there are things going on. But in time you will know what's happening," said Walker, who is known to prefer the 100m hurdles to the 400m hurdles.

She added: "I know that everyone is disappointed, but there is plenty disappointment in this game. But I must say that I am very grateful that I was able to come out here, four years back-to-back being in finals and medalling. I am not disappointed that I am not in the finals, but I know my goals and they are different from the finals.

"Mentally, when I am ready I can do anything," Walker added. "I was ready, but I'm not sure if I wanted it that much; I don't know, I don't know this feeling, I went out there and I ran, but I wasn't feeling it, there wasn't any fire."