Sprint hurdler Broadbell cites unfinished business
BUDAPEST, Hungary – Jamaica’s Rasheed Broadbell, who just missed the final of the 110m hurdles last year in Eugene, Oregon, has unfinished business when the 2023 World Athletics Championships gets underway this weekend in Hungary.
Broadbell was ninth overall after placing third in his semi-final race a year ago and missed the final by one-hundredth of a second, just behind Spain’s Asier Martinez’s season best 13.26 seconds.
Broadbell says the bitter experience has made him work harder.
He will go into the championships as the world leader after he ran 12.94 to win the event at the Jamaican championships last month.
Just after last year’s World Championships he broke the Commonwealth Games record and has established himself as a firm medal favourite.
At a press conference on Thursday in Budapest, he said he took solace in a conversation with his Coach Reynaldo Walcott.
“Coach and I were talking about it and he was saying everything counts. In training I was missing out on some stuff. We started [to] just put in some different type of work, a different type of focus, a different type of maturity after that race. I think from then to now you could say, probably I’ve got more mature in the sport, so I think it was a good eye-opener for me.”
“Training is hard work, no jokes, it was a wake-up call, so now I take the runs more seriously, no playing around and working with much more purpose.”
After being a relative unknown last year and now being a contender, he says the stakes are much higher and admitted he needs to work on keeping his “nerves” in check.
“I think in all aspects you have to get better, but I think I have to keep my nerves down when I’m competing. I think that’s one of the things I think I’ve got under control now, obviously it’s gonna be a different type of experience and feeling now, because this is for the world title. If you win, this is going to be the fastest person in the world for that year. So definitely it’s going to be something that we’re going to put into play for the next coming days,” he explained.
Broadbell said the second half of his race is his strongest.
“For me, if you realise, it’s more like the last five barriers is where I have the most speed, I’ve been putting in the work to ensure that those last five is really good.”
Broadbell was heavily recruited by a number of US colleges, but he said he wanted to take a year off before taking up one of the offers. But he made a bet with his father that if he improved his times he would stay at home instead.
He won the bet and joined Walcott at Elite Performance Track Club and says he is happy with the decision.
He said, with all the options at his disposal, he decided to go with Walcott because of how the coach treated him even before he made his decision to stay in Jamaica.
“What he did made me see him differently, because he didn’t have to do what he did, and since I have been there I have never regretted the decision. He’s there with me every step, you know, even though he’s not there at the finish line, but he’s there every step. We have a good bond. There have been times when I doubted myself, but he has reassured me and we are putting in great work and we are a good team now.”
He said Walcott, the former MVP assistant coach and St Elizabeth Technical head coach before starting his own club, is a mixture of what great coaches are. Broadbell said the coach can be a shouter but also still be there to put an arm around the athlete’s shoulder.
“I think he is a little bit of everything, but mostly he cares. In track and field it is not always about being too stern with the athletes, it’s about being there for them emotionally, and as I said, in my head, I have doubts, [but] he’s always the one that says, ‘No, you’re already there, your body is there, just trust it and just trust the process.’ “
Broadbell shared an experience during a training session on Wednesday in Budapest.
“I did something that I thought I could only do from the blocks, I did it without the blocks. When he told me the time, I said to him, ‘No, you’re lying to me’ and he was like, ‘You don trust the coach.’ “
Broadbell said that experience told him all he needed to know.
“I was like, ‘Alright, yes, we are really where we want to be right now.’ “
How does this translate into the race next week, he was asked.
“As I said, we’ve been working. I mean, it’s nothing different. The only thing changes is that we are in a different environment, there’s more at stake right now, but it’s the same 10 barriers, the same lane, it’s probably a different surface track, but I think the feeling is just to keep the nerves down because more titles are at stake. So it’s really the same thing, but just in a different setting,” the sprint hurdler said.