Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Eight-year wait leaves Russell champing at the bit

Published:Thursday | August 24, 2023 | 12:08 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Janieve Russell
Janieve Russell


IT’S BEEN eight years in the making for national 400-metre hurdles champion Janieve Russell.

Her return to the women’s 400m hurdles final today at 2:50 p.m. is the result of the hard work, and she is ready to leave everything on the track for a place on the podium, a place she believes Jamaica has the best chance of getting.

She will have countrywomen Andrenette Knight and 2019 World Championships bronze medallist Rushell Clayton at the line, the first time that three Jamaicans will compete in a one-lap hurdles final.

Russell has not had an opportunity like this since 2015 in Beijing, where she finished fifth. Now, she is determined to improve that placing, leaving nothing to chance.

“I am really confident coming in. It is just a mindset. I am physically ready. It is just for me to not let it get ahead of me. It is the final, so there is a lot of pressure coming in. I just have to stay content. I know that everyone is under the same pressure and just take it day by day,” Russell said.

Her semi-final race, where she qualified with a non-automatic time of 53.69, was surprising, given how badly off her technique was during the race, mistakes she knows she cannot afford to make today.

“I was really surprised that I ran 53.60 with all that shuffling and jumping. So that is something I have to concentrate on and not let the race get away from me. I think I was trying to settle down on the backstretch because I didn’t want to go too hard and not have any energy to come home,” Russell said.

Confident in the strength of this 400m hurdles core given how competitive the battle was among the trio at the National Championships last month, Russell said she has to give everything to get on the podium.

“I am going to give it my all in the finals, and wherever the foot pops off, there it will pop off.”