Athletics

'Consistency is key'

Zharnel Hughes looks to make impact at Racers Grand Prix

BY SHERDON COWAN
Observer staff reporter
cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, May 17, 2019

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After clocking a brisk personal best 9.91 seconds on his way to victory at last year's Racers Grand Prix, Zharnel Hughes has his sights set on a successful title defence and possibly an even faster time at this year's fourth edition.

Hughes victory back then came against a quality field, which included American Noah Lyles and Jamaica's own Yohan Blake and Julian Forte, was the icing on the cake of his fairly decent 2018 campaign, barring the Commonwealth Games disqualification.

That disqualification denied Hughes the biggest accolade of his promising career when he was removed from the podium impeding Trinidad and Tobago's Jereem Richards after winning the men's 200m final by a slender margin at the Gold Coast Games in Australia.

The 23-year-old, who is from the Caribbean island of Anguilla but competes for Great Britain, believes he is in slightly better shape than he was at this point last year and has placed his competitors on notice ahead of this year's rebranded Racers Adidas Grand Prix.

The meet, scheduled for June 8 inside National Stadium, is again promising much with most, if not all, 19 events for the three-hour showpiece looking fairly competitive.

A total of 130 athletes from 15 countries have already been confirmed with a host of other Olympic and World champions said to be waiting in the wings to be a part of the show voted the most outstanding one-day meet in the region.

“Most definitely Racers Grand Prix has always been exciting for me and training has been going really well for me so far, so I am gearing myself up nicely and I am looking forward to competing on that day.

“I have definitely built on it (2018 season), I have learnt now how to prepare myself even better and I am more patient and trying not to get ahead of myself, knowing that consistency is key. So I am learning the (100m) event more being more patient as I said and have fun going forward,” Hughes noted.

While brimming with confidence given his progression in the 2019 season so far, having clocked 10.20 at the GC Foster Classics and 48.96 in the 400m at the Camperdown Classics, Hughes, who is one of Racers Track Club's rising stars, is focused on become a healthier force on the track as he looks to the season ahead.

“It (the season) is completely different, this year is definitely fall back because this is where I usually have my off season, so coach and I have been taking things a bit slowly this year and around Racers Grand Prix time we will be sharpening up and then I would be heading back to (Great Britain) trials and September is World Championships so I am hoping to be there in fine shape,” Hughes shared.

“The season has been going really well, like I said, I am patient and a lot stronger as I go along so I am looking forward to a great 2019 as I am quite happy with where I am so far this year.

“I am trying to work a lot more on my speed and work on my techniques, better techniques means better times and better execution so that's what I am trying to do. I am student to the sport, so I am learning as much as possible as I go forward,” he said.

The sprinter, known as “Swift”, to his peers is set to blaze the trail in the 100m against Jamaica's former World record holder Asafa Powell, hunting his 100th sub-10 clocking, as well as Nesta Carter and Kemar Bailey-Cole, while American Trayvon Bromell will add more international flavour to the event.

“For me, it is all about going into that race focused solely on myself, staying relaxed and hopefully execute the perfect race, and have fun at the same time. So it is quite open, and I'm definitely looking forward to being on the podium.

“So we shall see what happens on the day, but I am definitely confident in myself and I am looking forward to a great race,” Hughes declared.

Online tickets are now on sale, with other tickets set to go on sale on June 3. Grandstand finishing line tickets are $5,000, with $2,500 for the rest of the grandstand, while bleachers tickets are $500.


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