Never quit!

Sport

Never quit!

Hurdler Clayton urges young athletes to brace for failure in pursuit of success

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — World Championships 400m hurdles bronze medallist Rushell Clayton has urged young athletes to continue to work hard in spite of setbacks which will come their way as they search for success in track and field and in the classroom.

Clayton, who was a surprise medallist in the women's intermediate hurdles at the World Championship in Doha, Qatar last October, was addressing yesterday's media launch of the 42nd Milo Western Relays at Holy Trinity Church Hall in Montego Bay.

“One of the things I have learned in life is that failure is a part of success. It's a part of life, but it does not define who you are. Who you are is defined by you and is reflected by your words and your actions,” said Clayton, who competed at the annual event for a number of years for Frome Technical, Vere Technical and several tertiary institutions.

The event will be held on February 8 at G C Foster Sports College in Angels, St Catherine, because of the continued unavailability of the track at Montego Bay Sports Complex in Catherine Hall.

The Milo Western Relays, the only event of its kind which has been held unbroken since 1978, will offer prize monies for the top four finishers in the high schools' Class One 4x100m, 4x400m Open and 4x400m Open for both genders.

The winners will get $30,000, with second place earning $20,000, third nplace $10,000 and fourth place $5,000.

In addition to the relay events which will include 4x200m and medley relays, the competition will also include individual events such as 100m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m Open for women, 3,000m Open for men, 400m hurdles Open, along with long and high jump Open.

Pan American Junior gold medallists Wayne Pinnock of Kingston College and Lotavia Brown of Edwin Allen were named as the outstanding junior athletes for 2019, while Wayne Long, result system analyst, will be the patron and will be honoured at the event.

Clayton won bronze in a lifetime best 53.74 seconds behind the American pair of Dalilah Muhammad, who won in a world record 52.16 seconds, and Sydney McLaughlin with a personal best 52.23 seconds. Clayton also won the event at the JAAA National Senior Championships in late June after injuries had affected the early part of her season.

The 27-year-old told the audience they should use failure as motivation and not to give up too easily, as there were no shortcuts to success. “In sports you have to prepare, not to avoid failure but prepare so that when it comes you can deal with it and you can overcome it, because honestly, if you are prepared, then that thing that you have failed at can become your greatest driver of motivation,” she advised.

She admitted to her share of failures. “I have failed many times and at many things. I failed at high school as I did not always get the times I wanted when I competed or the grades I wanted in exams. I tried 400m, I tried 800m and I even did 100m hurdles.

“I was never ever the top athlete in high school or university, but you know what, I never gave up. Yes, there were days I cried; I mean I cried tears, sometimes I got angry, many times I didn't want to talk to coach or just didn't even want to go to school, but one thing I can tell you, I always believed in myself because I had something working towards. So always set goals, aim for what you want, but know everything does not work how you want and some never work at all, so you try again.”

Self-motivation was also critical, she said. “This sport called track and field is hard. In fact, it is very hard...but I have learned a few things over the years. If I wanted to do well then I have to work hard. Sometimes I have to work much harder than anyone else. I have to manage my body and I have to keep motivating myself. Let me tell you something that I tell myself: there is a better version of you around the corner, you just have to have patience. You have to be willing to go for it; you have to be willing to fail, dust yourself off and try again.”


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