Wed | Nov 29, 2023

McLeod revels in final presence

Published:Wednesday | August 23, 2023 | 12:08 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Jamaica’s Candice McLeod competing in a heat at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest Hungary.
Jamaica’s Candice McLeod competing in a heat at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest Hungary.


THE SCREAM of joy that quarter-miler Candice McLeod unleashed after qualifying for back-to-back women’s 400-metre World Championships finals on Monday was not just the end of a nervous wait in the Q room.

It was a full-circle moment for her when she considers how close she was to not making the World Athletics Championships team at all.

McLeod’s 50.62-second fourth-place finish in Monday’s semifinal, held up through the other two semifinal rounds giving her a place in today’s 2:35 p.m. final.

It was a shock to her because, not only did she not think she would get this far this year, she was contemplating not going to the National Championships last month in Kingston.

“(The scream) wasn’t about the wait. It was more of a feeling like, I never thought I would be this far this year. It is a relief. Believe it or not, I didn’t want to be at the National Championships. And I am here, and I am a finalist, and I am grateful for that,” McLeod said

McLeod thanks her support system for the constant encouragement this year when she felt things were not going the way she wanted.

“Leading up to this, it was one per cent of Candice and 99 per cent of my supporters, my family, my friends, God. I couldn’t do it on my own, so it is one per cent me. Because mentally, I was not there at all. So I am grateful,” McLeod said.

McLeod had pleasant company in the Q room in the form of Belgium’s Cynthia Bolingo, who qualified for the final with her, and only felt tension when the other races were being run. Teammates, Nickisha Pryce and Charokee Young were in those heats but did not advance.

McLeod sees the unexpected opportunity to fight for a medal as testament to how far she has come in 2023.

“The tension was only there for the race. The waiting room wasn’t that bad. It was nerve-racking when the race was going on. Obviously, you don’t want anyone taking your time,” McLeod said. “I didn’t expect to be at the National Championships, so I have come far.”