LONDON, England — Lennox Graham, coach of Olympic 400m hurdles finalist Leford Green, has advised that the athlete focus on the technical aspects of his race this afternoon rather than running for a fast time.
Green, who won his third straight Jamaican national title at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senor Trials in June, ran a season best 48.61 seconds in the semi-finals on Saturday to finish second behind American Michael Tinsley and secure an automatic spot in the finals in his first Olympic Games.
After battling leg injuries earlier in the season that limited his competition schedule, Green came into the Olympic Games with only five races but has hit his best form at the right time.
Graham, who is in North Carolina, told the Jamaica Observer in an interview that Green "needs to focus on technical areas of
his race. On Saturday, he ran the middle perfectly but had errors in the straight".
Graham, who has coached Green for the past six years in his one season at Kingston College and four at Johnson C Smith University, said his athlete "needs to again get the middle right and attack the hurdles when he kicks, not just run the rhythm and be passive hurdling. That will allow him to get the ninth hurdle in rhythm instead of chopping his strides."
The coach said Green, who has a personal best 48.47 seconds — set while winning gold at the Central American and Caribbean Championships in Puerto Rico two years ago — will have to run a new personal best to medal.
"I think it will take 47.8 seconds to medal, but I think he should focus on the execution as I described and not the medal. Execution will determine time and time will determine medal, so focusing on medal would be incorrect,"
A medal for Green, he said, is not out of the question. However, "if he executes right, then I believe he can get in there in the 47s and therefore has a chance to be on the podium."
Graham said he has been communicating with Green via the Internet and has seen some recorded practices, and while that is not ideal, as it is does not provide feedback in a timely manner, "it's the best we could do at this time and it is working out in a positive way right now. Not the best, but the best in the circumstances."
His being based in the United States, Graham said, also has its disadvantages in that "I still have not seen a good version of the race as the Internet was 'freezing' the video and NBC did not show the race last night (Saturday night), so it's a huge disadvantage."