Ristananna Tracey defies odds to end 2017 on highSunday, December 31, 2017
BY SHERDON COWAN
When Ristananna Tracey came out of the IAAF London World Championships as Jamaica's lone female individual medallist, she had achieved her ultimate goal in what she describes as a “yo-yo season”.
But with that accomplishment now behind her, the 400-metre hurdles specialist is now on course to attain the prestigious Sportswoman of the Year Award — an accolade that she considers to be the epitome of recognition and success.
“I feel extremely honoured to have been nominated for this prestigious award; obviously it is my first time been nominated and I am extremely happy that my hard work is being recognised.
“I can't say I was surprised by my nomination, but I can't say it was expected either, because I never really pay attention to these things when it comes to competition. My aim is always to leave it all on the track and I did that in August at the World Championships in London,” Tracey told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.
After three previous tries on the World Championships circuit in Daegu, South Korea 2011; Moscow, Russia 2013; and Beijing, China 2015, it was a matter of fourth time lucky for Tracey, who is now coming of age.
In Daegu and Russia, she made the semi-finals.
Tracey, 25, has been one of Jamaica's most promising young athletes during her teenage years, but plaguing injuries have sometimes barred her from performing at her best on the world stage.
One such occasion was at the 2011 World Championships when Tracey, fresh out of Edwin Allen High School, defied a broken wrist to make the semi-finals.
It is often said that fortune favours the brave, and through her valour and sheer determination over the years, she has now exceeded expectations.
The Maurice Wilson-coached athlete produced her best run to date at the IAAF World Championships in London when she clocked a personal best 53.74 seconds for bronze. That performance followed a fifth-place finish at the Rio Olympics last year.
“I have had my fair share of highs and lows over the years, and this year was again kind of an up and down year for me. However, I give thanks for every situation, including the many lows, because those are what push and motivate me to go forward.
“So, with that said, I have no complaints because all is well that ends well; I performed at my best and I can say I met all my goals for the 2017 season and I am extremely grateful,” the Sprintec Track Club athlete noted.
Tracey was beaming about the endorsement from Jamaica's champion swimmer Alia Atkinson who, along with Elaine Thompson, will be her competition for the award, which is scheduled for January 19 at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.
“I am honoured to be nominated amongst two other great athletes and I wish them the very best. We are all winners in our own right because we all worked extremely hard to achieve what we have throughout the year and we all deserve that award.
“However, I will leave it to the powers that be to decide on that, but I just want to congratulate both Alia and Elaine on their accomplishments in the swimming World Cup and the Diamond League, as I myself celebrate being the only individual female medallist for Jamaica at the World Championships,” noted Tracey, who stands at 5ft 8in.
With things now coming together nicely and her career now blossoming, Tracey is now hoping to build on her accomplishments, both on and off the track, as she set sights on the year ahead.
“I have started my preparation and it's going well so far. However, I had a knee injury which has set me back by about two weeks, but my team has it under control and I am definitely working to improve on my weaknesses.
“So I am looking forward for great things. I am the kind of person that can be very hard on myself, so I keep my major goals and targets close to my chest.
“However, off the track I want to impact people's lives positively and giving back to youths in society as much as I can for the coming year and beyond,” she said in reference to her Rista and Bailey-Cole Foundation, which she founded with her partner and fellow track star Kemar Bailey-Cole.
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