Oh, Danny boy!

Veteran hurdler McFarlane confident of making Olympic cut

BY PAUL A REID Observer Writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, May 10, 2012

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Despite a slower than anticipated start to his season, veteran 400m hurdler Danny McFarlane is confident he will make the Jamaican team to his fourth straight Olympic Games, set to be staged later this year in London.

Wearing a heavy bandage on his left thigh, McFarlane finished fifth in the event at the JN Jamaica International Invitational at the National Stadium last Saturday in 49.99 seconds then told reporters that the time was "not what I expected".

A big fan favourite, McFarlane, who turns 40 next month, says he is "targeting two races for the season, (National) Trials and Olympics" but said his training started a bit late.

'Danny Mac', as he is affectionately called, said there was some confusion over his announcement of retirement
at last year's JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Trials.

Despite having the A qualifying standard for the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea last year, McFarlane who finished fourth at Trials, declined to be on the team as he felt he did not want to prevent Roxroy Cato, who finished third, from making his first team.

Cato had only attained a B standard and Isa Phillips, who was fifth at Trials but got the A on the last day before the cut-off period at a meeting in Germany, was chosen to accompany Leford Green and Josef Roberston to Daegu.

"I stopped for Worlds," McFarlane who was bestowed with the Order of Distinction told reporters on Saturday. "As I never felt I should have taken a young guy's spot so I figured it was my mistake I never finished in the top three and I think the guy (Cato) deserve his spot and so I stepped aside for World Championships," he said.

In walking away from the World Championships last year, McFarlane also gave up the chance of setting a record for the most World Championships appearances with 10 and is tied with Canadian race walker Tim Berrett on nine.

There will be no concession for anyone this year, however, as McFarlane, who was fourth in Beijing after taking silver four years earlier in Athens, said he was confident he can get one of the three spots to London.

"I feel pretty good," he said about his Olympic chances. "I think I am 80 per cent right now and when we get ready and come out here June, we will see then," McFarlane said.

The Jamaican hurdler, who also won a bronze medal in the flat 400m at the 2001 World Championships in Lisbon, Portugal, before making the then controversial switch to the hurdles, has seven 4x400m relay silver medals at the World Championships — gold in Birmingham in 2003, five silver and a bronze in Lisbon in 2001 as well as a bronze from the 2000 Sydney Olympics.


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