MONTEGO BAY, St James — Ristananna Tracey appears on her way back to the form that saw her qualify for the IAAF World Championships two years ago, lowering her season-best in three 400m hurdle races so far this season.
On Wednesday at the Cayman Invitational, Tracey ran 55.10 seconds for second behind Tiffany Williams of the USA, days after she had run 55.66 seconds at the Jamaica International Invitational at the National Stadium, again for second place, this time behind another American T'erea Brown.
The former Edwin Allen High student, who now trains with the Racers Track Club in Kingston, had opened her season running just under 56.00 seconds at the Chris Brown Invitational in the Bahamas and told the Jamaica Observer last weekend she was pleased with her progress.
"I made the best of it, but I am expecting to run faster as the season goes on," said Tracey, who turned 21 years old on Thursday.
She was one of the big surprises at the 2011 JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Trials when she ran a National Junior Record and still personal best 54.58 seconds and took one of three places on the Jamaican team to the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, where she was a semi-finalist.
After switching from the MVP Club where she spent only a few months to join the Glen Mills-led Racers set-up at the start of the 2012 season, she got off to a late start in her preparation as she had a medical procedure on her left wrist that was fractured in training during the lead-up to Daegu.
This late start to her training had set her back and resulted in her not qualifying for the team to the London Olympic, but Mills had told the Observer last year that she would be back to her best this season.
Mills had explained that Tracey needed "intense background preparation" if she is to run fast consistently.
"We had great hopes for her, but unfortunately (she) did not make the Olympics, team," Mills said. "The weeks of absence from training (at the start of the 2012 season) due to her broken hand and then the operation (forced her to miss important early season training)... so her off-season did not really start," noted Mills.
The veteran coach, who conditions the world's fastest man Usain Bolt, said Tracey missed too much time, therefore "we tried to bridge the gap so she could be ready for competition".
"She's young and we have identified what's wrong and we will put it right once she stays healthy and can do the type of background work that she's accustomed to and can do, and she will eventually rise and show her true potential," he said.