McLaugh­lin-Whilby points to rest

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Hu­bert Lawrence Gleaner Writer

ANNIESHA MCLAUGHLINWHILBY be­lieves that tak­ing a sea­son off helped to en­er­gise her Olympic cam­paign. The Sprintec ath­lete says rest­ing in 2015 smoth­ered her on­go­ing in­jury is­sues. Now with her 31st birth­day ap­proach­ing, the for­mer Holm­wood Tech­ni­cal star is look­ing for­ward with op­ti­mism.

Speak­ing at the G.C. Foster Col­lege for Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion re­cently, the ever-smil­ing McLaugh­lin-Whilby said, “In 2014, I ended my sea­son right af­ter the Com­mon­wealth Games, and from when I started train­ing last sea­son, I no longer have most of the is­sues.”

She had bounced back from in­jury in the 2013 World Cham­pi­onships 200m semi­fi­nals to be on the Com­mon­wealth Games team the fol­low­ing year, reach­ing the fi­nal in Glas­gow, Scot­land.

Ex­cept for a bout of the mos­quito-borne virus ZIKV, which forced her out of the 200m and into the 400m, she has been far health­ier in 2016. Ac­cord­ing to her, the rest did the trick.

“I think the one-year break gave my body a lot of well­needed rest, so it’s been go­ing good,” she said.

TRACK RECORD

McLaugh­lin-Whilby, who moved from the MVP Track Club to the Sprintec Club run by her for­mer Holm­wood coach Mau­rice Wil­son, set per­sonal bests of 51.35 and 51.03 sec­onds en route to fifth place at the Na­tional Cham­pi­onships.

Those times fol­lowed a run of 51.40 ear­lier in the sea­son and are su­pe­rior to her pre­vi­ous 400m life­time best of 51.89, which was es­tab­lished in 2012.

At the Olympics, she helped Ja­maica to win the sil­ver medal in the 4x400m re­lay. Her con­tri­bu­tion was a 50.2 sec­ond stint in the heats and a sparkling 49.8 sec­ond blitz in the fi­nal.

The 30-year-old McLaugh­lin is a Champs le­gend with 19 gold medals won for Holm­wood and records that still stand even now, long af­ter her last race as a school girl. Her Girls’ Cham­pi­onships Class 3 200m and 400m records are es­pe­cially good at 23.11 and 52.52 sec­onds re­spec­tively, and she also holds the Class 2 200m mark of 23.13.

Dur­ing those days, she won five Carifta Games ti­tles, in­clud­ing an Un­der-17 100m cham­pi­onship in 2002. Later that year, she was the run­ner-up in the World Ju­nior Cham­pi­onships at 200m.

Dur­ing her years at the Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, she placed fifth in the 200m at the 2009 World Cham­pi­onships and in 2011 and won gold in the 200m at the World Univer­sity Games.

Now fully com­mit­ted to the 400m, McLaugh­lin-Whilby is look­ing ahead.

“(It’s) Hard work and kind of dif­fer­ent but I’m at­tack­ing the chal­lenge,” she grinned. “Train­ing has been go­ing great so I just want to con­tinue train­ing and do what coach tells me to do, and I know I will get the re­sult I de­sire.”

MCLAUGH­LIN-WHILBY

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