'Rista' says coach Wilson, teammate Thomas-Dodd her inspiration

Saturday, August 12, 2017

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LONDON, England — In her pre-race mental preparation, Ristananna Tracey kept telling herself she can be on the medal podium at the end of the race.

She confesses that she drew that extra strength from her coach Maurice Wilson, but more importantly, inspiration from her roommate Danniel Thomas-Dodd, who narrowly missed bronze in the shot put.

“Danniel Dodd is my roommate and I watched her yesterday (Wednesday) in the finals, and I saw that she lost the bronze medal on the last throw. When I came home I said to her that 'I am like I am really, really happy for you' and I said what if I can be the first one to give my coach a medal and she was like 'you gonna do it Rista, you can do it'. I mean, it's strictly positivity in my room,” noted Tracey.

“So I just came out here and put it on the line because they are always encouraging and motivating me, and telling me that I am supposed to believe in my abilities because I am really strong and I can do great things,” she added.

And great things she has done.

Tracey ran the race of her life, lowering her personal best from 54.15 to 53.74 seconds, and grabbed a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles.

American Kori Carter, running from lane nine, won in a splendid 53.07, and her teammate Dalilah Muhammad copped silver in 53.50.

Tracey, who came off the penultimate hurdle in fourth spot, caught two-time champion Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic at the final hurdle and sprinted away to secure the third spot, while closing rapidly on the silver medallist Muhammad.

“Once I am in striking distance to anybody (and) once I came off the last hurdle, I know that I am going to catch them because I am going to finish real fast,” said Tracey.

Despite being just 25 years old, this is Tracey's fourth World Championships. The Sprintec athlete, who made the switch from the Racers track club in 2015, was 13th in Daegu 2011; 12th in Moscow 2013; and was 30th two years ago in Beijing.

“Experience teaches wisdom, and I think I have had a lot of experience. So I just sit and talk to myself saying 'Rista you can be on that podium', because I have been going through the rounds easy,” said Tracey.

The former high school star from Edwin Allen High says she was apprehensive after drawing lane seven in the final.

“At first when I saw the lane draw, I was like 'oh my god all my rivals are behind me, what am I going to do?' I wanted to see them because I don't want them to get any advantage over me,” she explained.

Tracey continued: “But then I remember going to my coach and he was like 'Rista you are stronger than all of them out there. Just go out there and run your own race and you will be on that podium', and I just came out and ran my race.”

Tracey, who was fifth at the Rio Olympics last year, joins multiple medallist Deon Hemmings-McCatty and the 2009 champion Melaine Walker as the other Jamaican women with podium finishes in the event.

“I always run the first 200 of my race real hard. I know that I can maintain because I still have the 800m strength in me, so I always run my race that way. But being that they are behind I was like, 'oh my God, they are going to watch me and have some form of advantage over me'. But my coach said to me once you come off that eighth hurdle and you realise you are in striking distance, you don't have to panic, you don't have to worry, just drive straight home. And if it means that you have to dive to the line, just do exactly that,” she revealed.

— Howard Walker




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