Athletics

Taylor aims for personal best against seniors

...But his peer Russell will strut stuff against juniors at National Championships

BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
Observer writer

Thursday, June 14, 2018

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Calabar standout athletes Christopher Taylor and Dejour Russell will be two of the athletes to watch at the combined National Junior and Senior Athletics Championships to be held at the National Stadium in Kingston June 21-24.

The boys represented Calabar with great distinction at the ISSA/Grace Kennedy Athletics Championships in March and they are both seen as great prospects for the future in Jamaica's track and field.

But while Taylor will be running against the senior athletes next weekend, Russell, who represented Jamaica at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April, will be running against the juniors this year. He competed with the seniors at last year's championships.

Running the 200m at the Jamaica International Invitational meet last month, Taylor, who is affectionately called “Cubby”, ran a respectable 20.49 to upstage American LaShawn Merritt before travelling to Cayman to win the 400m in a personal best time of 45.24 a week ago.

Taylor will be using the 400m for development purposes, but is also taking aim at setting consecutive personal bests in the event after his exploits at the Cayman Invitational.

“I am going out there to obtain a new personal best because the 400m was my pet event over the past few years. I didn't get to run a lot of 400m races this season, so I am just going out there to execute because the 400 can help to get me ready for the World Juniors in July,” he stated.

Taylor suggested that there were pros and cons from not having run many races over the distance since the start of the year.

“It has a bad impact and it has a good impact, knowing that I haven't run the 400m most of the season. It helped me to rest, but it also has something to do with not being race fit to run the 400m or [to] have the race experience to go out there and run the race that I need to run against the seniors.

“But so far I think it's going pretty well because I have run a personal best after taking about three months off running in the 400, so I think it's a good look,” Taylor surmised.

When quizzed about running against his former high school teammate, now pro athlete Javon Francis, Taylor said he had only one focus at the moment.

“I am just going out there with the focus, with one aim, and that aim is to obtain a personal best, so I'm gonna try my best to do whatever it takes to get a personal best,” he declared.

As far as Russell is concerned, running against the juniors is a decision made solely by his coach.

“I am in better shape now to run the senior height (than at the Commonwealth Games), but coach said let's just focus on the junior level, because that is really the big aim for this year and that's what I am doing because he knows what's best,” the burly athlete revealed.

However, having had the taste of senior level competition, the 18-year-old is chomping at the bit to get another shot at the “big boys”.

“I can't wait, I can't wait. Just the experience at the Commonwealth Games has pushed me to want to do more and I just can't wait. I just hope God keeps me injury-free. I am really looking forward to step up to senior level and competing there again,” Russell said.

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