Holmwood's Russell sets goals after superb 400m opener
Rickiann Russell of Holmwood Technical storms to a personal best 52.88 seconds to win the Class One Girls' 400m during the Queen's/Grace Jackson Invitational Meet inside the National Stadium on Saturday. (Photo: Dwayne Richards)

Holmwood Technical's outstanding quarter-miler Rickiann Russell was in a state of shock after crossing the finish line to win the girls' Class One 400m in a massive personal best time of 52.88 seconds at the Queen's/Grace Jackson meet at the National Stadium on Saturday.

Russell's time is the fastest in the world this year for an Under-20 athlete and it also eclipsed her previous best time of 53.46 in the event, which she achieved last season.

The Russell, who turns 19 on February 2, told the Jamaica Observer running that fast in her first 400m race of the year is a confidence booster.

"I am very surprised by this time because I wasn't expecting it at this point of the season and furthermore, I didn't even know that I was running so fast in the race," said Russell.

"But nonetheless, I am feeling very proud of myself because I haven't been in the best shape for the past two years and to come out here and run a 52 is really a great feeling for me.

"I think that I can definitely run a lot faster because there wasn't much competition in the race and I run that fast, so I know that once there is competition in the race, I will go a lot faster this season," Russell said.

The lanky quarter-miler disappointingly finished fourth and sixth in the girls' Class One 200m and 400m, respectively, at last year's Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Athletics Championships.

Russell, who is in her final year at the schools' championships, said she plans to end her high school with a bang at this year's event, slated for late March to early April at the National Stadium.

"My ambition is to finish at least first or second in both events at Champs this year because I am working towards it and I am going to get there.

"This is also my final year at Champs and so I want to make sure that I go out with a bang," Russell said.

"My training has been good, but it is hard but it is manageable. My coach [Dave Anderson] is a great coach and he has been doing the best that he can to ensure everyone on the team is ready to run whenever we are called upon," Russell said.

Robert Bailey

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