Sport

Hurdler Russell hints at successful 2019 season

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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Turning 25 less than a week ago, Jamaican ace hurdler Janieve Russell is psyching herself up for next year's track season.

A proud scorpion, the Commonwealth Games champion in the 400m hurdles has engaged in a series of confidence-building tweets before she steps on the track about March 2019.

Russell racked up 10 wins in a sizzling schedule in 2018, competing almost every week from March to early September.

She topped the field at several major meets, especially the World Cup in London, the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava and the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

For the IAAF World Championships set for Doha in September 2019, Russell has renewed focus knowing that she is one of the best in the world.

Before that she will feature in the Sportswoman of the Year award early next year, hopefully becoming Jamaica's third female one-lap hurdler to win the honour after Deon Hemmings and Melaine Walker.

Just this past week Russell tweeted: “Your confidence is high... and your creativity is at a peak.”

The Holmwood Technical past student has found the way to run her pet event — a way that involves saving her energy till the home stretch, then powering home.

Russell might tinker with her strategy next season in order to improve on her personal best 53.46, the third best time in the world for 2018, after arch-rival American Shamier Little (53.32) and world leader and junior, American Sydney McLaughlin (52.75).

In her birthday tweet on November 14, Russell noted: “(You're inspired to increase your net worth and value.”

It's been lucrative for the World Junior Champion in 2018, finishing in the top two in all but one of her Diamond League meets and performed well in World Challenge races.

She won the Jamaica International and the Eugene Prefontaine Classic, and was second in Shanghai, Pietro Mennea, Lausanne, London Müller, and Birmingham; and third in Zürich.

As the fourth fastest Jamaican of all time, Russell will need to dip under 53 seconds to become a world champion in 2019.

At 25 years of age she is now well-poised to clear new barriers.

The current world record of 52.34 seconds was established by a 25-year-old Russian and Russell's compatriot Walker was 26 when she ran 52.42, the second fastest time ever in the 400m hurdles.

If Russell runs below 23 seconds in the 200m this season, she will be unstoppable next summer.

She has long uttered as gospel that competing in the 400m hurdles came by accident, it's up to her to make it her destiny and leave a lasting legacy.

— Paul Burrowes

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