Sport

'Anything I put my mind to, I can do it' — Russell

Saturday, August 02, 2014    

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GLASGOW, Scotland — Winning medals seems to be an addiction for Jamaican athletes; they seem hooked on the lure of it.

Intriguingly, they celebrate third and second place with equal intensity, as if to say: who needs first place?

Watching 400m hurdles Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Janieve Russell draped in the Jamaica flag with gold medal-winning teammate Kaliese Spencer, it would be hard to distinguish between who had won and who had placed third.

The reality is, they both won. For winning medals -- irrespective of the shade -- is a triumph of the human spirit. A podium finish is indeed reward for years of dedicated training and preparation, and to stand there with medal in hand is a glorious culmination of tremendous sacrifice.

Russell, 20, is a shining example.

"I train very hard, and as [coach] Brigitte Foster-Hylton (retired 100m Jamaican hurdler) said, I deserved it, and I am glad I am on the podium today," she said after her third-place finish in 54.75 seconds.

Russell -- a gold medal winner in the event at the World Juniors in Barcelona, Spain, two years ago -- is supremely confident as she launches further into her senior career with significant locomotion surely to come from her Commonwealth Games bronze.

"Anything I put my mind to, I can do it. I just said to myself that I am good in the 400m flat and all I needed to do was go out there and do my best, and that's what I did," she said.

Her teammate and training partner, Spencer, had high praise for Russell.

"I am very happy for her; she won a bronze and this will be a stepping stone for her. She is my training partner and she works hard, so I know what she is capable of doing," noted the newly crowned Commonwealth Games champion.

In reflecting on the race, Russell admitted she fed off her compatriot Spencer, who spared little time in making her move on the field.

"When I saw Kaliese short off the corner, I decided that was my time to move...I wanted to get my first hurdle, as execution is key, and I was focused on my lane alone, because maybe if I was concentrating on anyone else, I would mess up because since this meet I noticed that there have been a lot of DQs (disqualifications) when it comes to the technical events," said the former Holmwood Technical student.

Russell paid special tribute to her coaches, who, she is satisfied, are doing a good job in shaping her for the next level.

"It's great working with her (Foster-Hylton) as she was once an athlete and she knows what it feels like to be on the battlefield of running...she is a very great coach, along with Mr Stephen Francis, and I am glad she was there to help me with my technique," said Russell.

Spencer won the gold medal in 52.79 seconds, while Scotland's Eilidh Child copped silver in 54.22.

-- Sean Williams

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