Ready for the big league

Shiann Salmon takes aim at seniors after landing Intercol 400m hurdles gold

Observer writer

Sunday, April 14, 2019

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G C Foster College athlete Shiann Salmon was in commanding form as she swept to victory in the 400m hurdles final at the NCB Intercol Track & Field Championships on Friday.

Salmon, who turned 20 years old on the last day of March, was in a no-nonsense mood as she separated herself from the field early in the race and cruised home to victory by over 20 metres, stopping the clock at 56.66s. Derrian Hill of the University of Technology (UTech) was a distant second in 1:01.20, while Salmon's teammate Osheena Kerr was third in 1:02.31, as the defending Intercol champions grabbed a valuable 15 points from the event.

Despite the ease of the victory, the gold medallist insists it wasn't as easy as it appeared to those looking on.

“It wasn't as easy at is looked. I think I messed up my rhythm a bit but I was able to come out victorious regardless of that, so I am very grateful,” she admitted.

Salmon suggested that she lost focus in the race, but hopes to get over those issues as the season progresses.

“The execution I was looking for wasn't there at all. I think in the race itself I kind of forgot the plan that I had gone in with but hopefully, going towards the rest of the season, I will get it right.”

With her personal ambitions achieved in the main at Intercol, the rest of the season is there to be completed and the intercollegiate freshman has a game plan for the next few months, which could see her as a national representative at the senior level as soon as September.

“I am considering to go to the senior trials. If my season is as successful as I want it to be then I will get there, definitely. I am just aiming to get to a new personal best; getting a new personal best would definitely mean that I am on target, so that is my aim,” she explained.

Jamaica has one of the most competitive fields in the women's 400m hurdles anywhere in the world, boasting the likes of Commonwealth Games champion Janieve Russell, former Diamond League champion Kaliese Spencer, Olympic bronze medallist Ristananna Tracey, and the former national champion Rhonda Whyte.

But the mention of those names do not intimidate Salmon, who is ready to mix it up with the big guns in pursuit of her personal ambitions.

“I am not worried because I believe that with hard work I will be just as good as them, or even better,” she boldly declared.

As can be expected, qualifying for the national senior team this year would be perfect for the former Hydel High athlete.

“It would definitely mean a lot, being that this is my first year from the junior level moving to the senior level and facing this new type of competition. I think if I make the team that would be a very, very successful move for me,” noted Salmon.

Many track and field experts expected the former Hydel captain, who was heavily recruited, to venture overseas and she says that heading abroad is still a part of her plans.

“The decision is still pending. it will be a very drastic decision at the end of the day, but I am not sure what decision I will make yet — if I will stay here or if I will pursue my career further overseas.”

Salmon also reserved high praises for her former school's valiant chase of the ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys'and Girls' Athletics Championships this syear.

“They definitely dug (deep) and they came up with the points; well, they could have but they didn't, so hopefully next year they will do better than they did this year. I want to see them achieve what we have always wanted to achieve, which is a title,” she said.

The biggest praise was left for Charokee Young, who took the captain's armband after Salmon departed the Ferry-based school.

“I think she definitely led by example, being that she went out there and she won her two flat events and she led home the team in the 4x400m. I think her performance was very exceptional,” she said.

G C Foster seemed well on their way to defending their title as they led comfortably in both the men's and women's section after day one of the two-day championships.

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