Proud dad recalls his pre-race advice to Rushell

Observer writer

Sunday, October 06, 2019

On Friday evening, hours after his daughter Rushell had won a surprise bronze medal in the women's 400m hurdles at the 17th IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, Brenton Clayton was still in shock and celebrating.

“I can't even explain what I am feeling right now,” he told the Jamaica Observer. “I am crying; I am feeling overjoyed.”

Rushell, who will turn 27 next week, is Brenton's second daughter and third of six children. Reflecting on his daughter's personal best 53.74 seconds, which made her joint fifth-best ever by a Jamaican woman in the event, Brenton Clayton said she has made him and the entire extended family, including siblings in the United States, “very proud”.

He said she has fulfilled a dream he had of her. “Ever since she started competing seriously I have always told her that I wanted to see her on TV getting a medal and hearing the National Anthem,” he said.

Before she left for Europe to continue her preparation and after she had won the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association National Championships in June, Brenton said he sat her down and gave her his own set of instructions as to how to approach the event at the World Championships.

“I told her to be careful and just watch the others and keep focused, and she would bring back a medal,” he said he told her.

He did not get to watch the first-round race which she won in 55.23 seconds as he was doing business at the tax office in Savanna-la-Mar, but both of his phones, he said, started ringing after the race. “I got at least 15 calls right there at the counter at the tax office. People were calling from everywhere — the US, here in Jamaica — just a lot of calls.”

Brenton said he has always had a bond with Rushell, who he said, often visits him at his home in Whithorn. “She always brought me little gifts, mangoes, all kinds of fruits,” he said.``