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Praught-Leer starts early Tokyo 2021 prep

Published:Sunday | September 20, 2020 | 6:38 AMRobert Bailey - Sunday Gleaner Writer

In an effort to improve her all-round abilities on the track, Jamaican distance running standout Aisha Praught-Leer says she has already started training ahead of next year’s Olympic Games, as she begins her campaign for a second appearance at the Olympics.

The Olympic Games, which was scheduled for this summer in Tokyo, Japan, was rescheduled for next year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Praught-Leer, a 3000m steeplechase finalist at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, is already clocking the miles ahead of next season.

“For the last five weeks I have been running over 90 miles per week, just getting my aerobics system and getting my body ready,” Praught-Leer told The Sunday Gleaner.

“I am in the ‘meat’ of training for the season because I am preparing my body and mind to start a little bit early because I am not leaving anything to chance,” she said.

Praught-Leer, who is the 2018 Commonwealth Games 3000m steeplechase champion, underscored that as part of her preparations for next year’s Olympic Games, she will be competing in a number of indoor meets next season.

“The season was super stressful and strange and weird for everybody and so we are hoping to have some ability to deal with some indoor racing at the Boston University, COVID-permitting, that they will be able to host some small meets,” Praught-Leer said.

“That is our hope but nothing is really ever set in stone, but we are just hoping that once the standard (qualifying) window opens on December 1, that meetings will pop up on the schedule that we will be able to go to.”

She currently has personal best times of 15:07.50 in the 5000m, 9:14.09 seconds in the 3000m steeplechase and 1500m is 4:05.52 in the 1500 metres.

“I am closer to 5000m and I also want to qualify for the 1500m,” Praught-Leer said. “However, in my mind, I am targeting the 1500m, but we are just going to keep those options on the table and see how I am looking, but in my mind, I am leaning more towards the 1500m.”