The return of Rista

June 07, 2016
Ristananna Tracey in action in the 400m hurdles at last year's National Senior Championships.
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New surroundings, a new coach and renewed focus are carrying 400 metre hurdler Ristananna Tracey back into the fast lane.

With old injuries under control, she sets her sights on qualifying for Jamaica's Olympic track and field team. She says new coach Maurice Wilson's individualised style has been a big help.

Tracey joined Wilson's G.C. Foster College based Sprintec Club recently and said, "He tries to fix their flaws as best as possible." With hamstring, hip and back problems bridled now, her outlook is optimistic.

"I'm training really hard," she said after a businesslike training session last week. "This is the fittest I've been for four years so hopefully, I will just go out there and execute and the time will come."

'Rista', as she is popularly known, left Edwin Allen High in 2011 with a personal best of 54.58 seconds, the second-fastest time ever by an athlete under the age of 20. In 2012, during her time at the Racers Track Club, she improved to 54.52. She hasn't broken 55 seconds since.

DIFFERENT SEASON

This season could be different.

"Last year my best time before trials was 57 and my time at trials was 55.4, and I've been beyond that already this season," she rationalised in reference to her 2016 best of 55.31 seconds.

At this point in the Olympic campaign, Janieve Russell and Kaliese Spencer are the only Jamaicans with faster times at 53.96 and 55.02 respectively.

For the 24-year-old 2011 and 2013 World Championships semi-finalist, the June 30-July 3 National Senior Championships are crucial as they are her only pathway to the 2016 Olympics.

"The last time at the Olympic trials, I was fourth," she reflected. "So this year, I just want to go out there and give it my all and do my best and hopefully, I'm on that team."

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