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400m hurdler Leah Nugent moves to own rhythm

Thursday, August 03, 2017

LONDON, England — Jamaica's 400m hurdler Leah Nugent revealed that her below-par performances heading into the London World Championships were, in part, due to a tweak in her technique.

That aside, she is now ready to deliver.

“Training has been going great. I have been changing a lot of things with my pattern for my race and things are finally coming together at the right time. So it's really good and I am excited to see what happens,” said Nugent moments after training at the Stratford training facility in London.

Nugent, who switched allegiance from the United States of America to Jamaica in 2016, was third at the Jamaica National Senior Championships in 54.54 seconds behind Ronda Whyte (54.29) and Ristananna Tracey (54.49) and ahead of race favourite Janieve Russell (55.34).

Since then Nugent has had two poor runs on the Diamond League circuit finishing seventh and eighth in 55.02 and 58.07, respectively.

But the Pennsylvania-born, whose father is from Kingston, is expecting to transform into a much-improved runner than her seventh-placed finish in the Rio Olympics final last year.

“I was just changing things up with my pattern to run faster than running just 54s,” said Nugent, who has a personal best of 54.45 and a seasonal best of 54.54.

“I am aiming for something high so you have to change things. I think it is just putting it all together when you try something new, so I am glad it's coming together when it needs to be,” said Nugent.

The University of Kentucky graduate, who won bronze at the NCAA in 2015, has high expectations and is looking to better her finish in Rio.

“Last year I made the Olympic final; this year I intend to get a medal,” said a confident Nugent.

Nugent, who said she loves the vibe in the Jamaican camp, knows she has her hands full in what will be a crack 400m hurdles event.

“At the end of the day we are all running over obstacles... you can have your pattern down and [still] hit a hurdle or have an off step and it can mess up everything. Being in shape is great, but having your rhythm down is also important,” she noted.

— Howard Walker

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