Cometh the hour
Lion-hearted Parchment settles score in TokyoFriday, August 06, 2021
TOKYO, Japan — The massive upset result in Thursday's (Wednesday night, Jamaica time) 110m hurdles final could not have happened to a more deserving athlete than Hansle Parchment.
The 31-year-old had looked set to enjoy a period of dominance in the event following his exploits of a bronze medal at the London 2012 Games, only for a series of injuries to basically prevent him from giving of his best for any prolonged period of time, and especially on the big stage.
His time to really shine on the grandest stage seemed to have passed him by, but he kept faith, kept focused, even if he was underprepared at the time of the Jamaican National Championships in late June.
He managed to scrape through in third place and also survived any thoughts of including the then reigning 100m hurdles gold medallist Omar McLeod, who had suffered misfortune at Trials and had pleaded with authorities to be included in the three-man team to the Olympics.
But Parchment had a score to settle and went about his business here in Japan like a man possessed. He had a laser-like focus not often seen. He had a plan to defeat the seemingly unbeatable American Grant Holloway, and he was prepared to make adjustments, and in the end, everything fell into place, and his date with destiny was sealed.
“Well as you can see I'm composed,” he told the media during an interview in the mixed zone, inside an hour after realising his ultimate dream. He even had a moment to laugh at how composed he was.
“Happy of course, elated. It's been a long time coming, it's been a lot of hard work keeping the focus, keeping the tunnel vision, and putting the right ways together and I did just that,” he added.
Drawn in lane seven, Parchment had possibly his best start ever, though still behind the field, but he was into his running quickly and was a clear second by the halfway stage to the fleet-footed American favourite.
At this stage his compatriot Ronald Levy had claimed third place and moving smoothly.
But as the finish line drew nearer, Parchment got into top gear and pulled alongside the stunned Holloway before drawing off for a fairly comfortable win in a season's best 13.04 seconds.
Holloway just managed to outdip Levy for silver in 13.09 seconds. Levy's 13.10 seconds completed first and third-place finishes for Jamaica.
The final result left Parchment a completely satisfied man, as he knew his race strategies had come together perfectly.
“I did a lot of tweaking… every round was a different start because after the first one and I saw that Grant was almost at two when I was just getting at one, I realised that if I'm going to beat this guy I have to change some things, I have to tweak some things. I need to set up myself a little bit better so I can get closer to him towards the end,” he explained.
“The changes worked, I think. After the semis I saw myself getting a little closer to him so I realised that if I am going to catch him I need to set myself up a little bit better to the first three hurdles. I spoke with even some of the sprinters like Tyquendo (Tracey) and Julian (Forte) about getting out a little bit faster because of course they are sprinters and they have very good starts, so I got some good advice and I applied those to the tweaking and I think it worked as I had a decent start.
“Of course, you know he (Holloway) has a great start and he's gone and I made a few tweaks in my blocks just to get a better foot placement just to set myself up and I knew once I'm a little bit closer towards the first end and I run a clinical race I would be able to catch up in the end and I did just that.”
The 2015 World Championships silver medallist admitted that he was unable to get in as many races as he would have wanted, but he did a lot of gym work, a lot of swimming and strength work with his therapist, which proved enough to put together the perfect race when it mattered most.
He believes the experience gained over the years allowed him to be in that place where he could capitalise.
“I feel it helps with keeping you level headed, keeping my composure because it's all about who is more focused, who wants it more, who keeps the technique together. I think the experience over the years helped with that a lot.”
The Fitz Coleman-coached star was more than happy to have had the company of compatriot Ronald Levy, the reigning National champion, on the podium with him. He was also happy for Jamaica's third entrant in the event, Damion Thomas, who went out in the semi-finals.
“It was also a good experience for Damion, I think he did pretty well, he's young and has a lot more years in front of him and I expect to see a lot more from him.
“I am also hoping for more (athletes) in other events as well, so looking for us to have a bigger team competing in other events like the long jump, high jump, javelin; we haven't seen anybody in that so far, so let's hope we have some more talents coming up.”
On Levy's potential, he said. “We all know that Levy is one of our best hurdlers, he's pretty fast as well. We might even see him on a 4x1, he has that kind of speed. He's had injuries over the years, he's great hurdler and we can always look forward to Levy doing a lot more work and coming out on top just like the others, and of course exciting for us on the podium again.”