Former Calabar star Dejour Russell eyes Olympic medal

Former Calabar star Dejour Russell eyes Olympic medal

Observer writer

Thursday, January 21, 2021

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Former Calabar High School star Dejour Russell is hoping for an injury-free season, a spot on Jamaica's team in the 110m hurdles and hopefully culminating with an Olympic medal in the summer.

The powerful 20-year-old, now under the guidance of veteran Coach Fitz Coleman, is ready to make the transition from a high-school star to the professional level.

“I would genuinely feel happy getting a PR [personal record], and making the Olympic team [as] that's my number one aim for the season and getting a medal. That would be the icing on the cake for my season. I just can't wait. I am excited,” said Russell.

“Training is going pretty well, I can't complain. Day by day we are taking everything because I have a patient coach and he is getting me to be very patient as well.

“We up the tempo day by day and physically, I am feeling good. I am in a good space,” he added.

The super-talented Russell was part of a powerful Calabar squad and was very instrumental in the green and black boys from Red Hills Road seven-year dominance of the Inter-secondary School Sports Association (ISSA) Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championship between 2012 and 2018.

He won multiple events during his tenure from the sprint hurdles in classes one, two and three, and was even crowned the fastest boy to capture the Class Two 100m title.

The versatile Russell also won silver in the Class Two 200m behind Christopher Taylor and the Class Three long jump and was an integral part of the 4x100m relays throughout his time at Calabar.

In-between, Russell struck gold at the 2017 World Athletics Under-18 Championships in Kenya, capturing the 110m hurdles in a championship record of 13.04.

He then surprised and gained a spot on Jamaica's team to the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, where he made the finals and finished eighth in 13.92.

Russell, now at the newly formed Legacy Athletics club, said training is going well and he is eager for the season — hampered by the novel coronavirus pandemic — to get going.

“I am in love with my club. I am in love with Coach Coleman's training. As I said, he is a very patient man and I expect that of him, and whenever we are ready to go, I will be out there,” said Russell.

“My expectation for the season is to really stay injury free, make it to the Olympics, and by the grace of God, get an Olympic medal, because this is what I am training this hard for,” he added.

But being such a multitalented athlete, it can, sometimes, be hard to decide which event to really specialise in and Russell believes the 110m hurdle will be his thing, although his coach believes he can make some noise in the 100m sprint.

“The event I am focusing on is the 110m hurdles, although coach says I have a high chance in the 100m sprint. But I genuinely not looking towards the 100m, I want to break through in the 110 hurdles. That's the event I am really focusing on, but coach is thinking otherwise,” he pointed out.

“But let's see as I don't put limits on myself. But once I feel good and he feels good, who knows what event Dejour Russell will be stepping out in. Let's just see,” said Russell.

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