McLeod exceeds own expectations
Tokyo TestSaturday, July 03, 2021
BY DWAYNE RICHARDS
THE University of the West Indies student Candice McLeod ran her sixth personal best of the season and her first sub-50-second clocking in the 400m final to finish second and secure a spot on her first Olympic Games team on Sunday.
McLeod, who participated in virtually every meet held at the National Stadium since the resumption of track and field earlier this season, has been a model of consistency as she religiously lowered her time over the one-lap event week after week, even drawing notice from the president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, Garth Gayle, during the process.
McLeod was in tears at the end of the final after she crossed the line in a lifetime best of 49.91secs in what was the fastest women's 400m run by Jamaican women only, inside the National Stadium. She, along with race winner Stephenie-Ann McPherson, both dipped under the 50-sec mark while third-place finisher Roneisha McGregor also ran a superb lifetime best of 50.02secs.
The 24-year-old said she exceeded her own expectations with the time that she ran on Sunday.
“If you know Candice, you know that once she steps on the track she means business – whether it's training or competition. I was not expecting 49 seconds but I was expecting to do my best, as always. It's a wonderful feeling to make the Olympic team.”
However, the reality of her achievement did not hit home until she saw the celebrations of the people closest to her.
“Really, when I saw how my coach reacted and my mommy [it was] then I know that I accomplished something. It's really for them, my supporters and everyone else. So once they are happy, I'm okay.”
Clearly a perfectionist, the slim built athlete said she has been working on putting the perfect race together and came very close when she punched her ticket to Tokyo. She has promised to keep working towards perfection.
“I have been working on getting a good execution. I am good at following instructions and even if I don't get it at the first, second or third try, I know that one day I will get it. It was almost perfect but not quite perfect, but I will get there.”
What made the occasion even more special for her was the fact that she had made the team with her childhood friend and biggest fan.
“The good thing about this is that I made the Olympic team with Shericka [Jackson]. We have been wanting this forever, to make a team together, and this is definitely the first team together and I am excited for that.
“She has been one of my biggest fans since grade seven when I was 12 years old. She has always been there.”
Jackson qualified for her second Olympic Games when she finished second in both the 100m and 200m at the National Championships last weekend.
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