Patience pays off for McLeod

by

August 17, 2016
Jamaica's Omar McLeod reacts after winning the 110 metres hurdles final in 13.05 seconds at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil last night.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:

In 2015 he arrived at the World Championships in Beijing - his first major senior championships as a strong contender for a medal.

Things didn't work out.

A sixth-place finish in that final will remain on his profile forever, but the lessons learned will not be shown in any record books.

"I was a youngster and made the finals but I learned to be patient."

That experience, that new-found patience was, however, the key to unlocking Jamaica's first gold medal in the 110m hurdles at a major senior championships and only its second at the Olympic Games, after Hansle Parchment's London 2012 bronze.

Omar McLeod ran within himself - afraid of the potential damage that a speed that he has not yet learned to contain might cost him. He is after all the first hurdler to also boast a sub-10-second 100m time.

mishaps

He didn't need it all last night as he blew away the field inside the Olympic Stadium to win in 13.05 seconds ahead of Spain's Orlando Ortega, 13.17 and Frenchman Dimitri Bascou, 13.24. Still, only once has he gone faster this season.

It was largely an open-and-shut result given the dominance of the Jamaican this year, but mishaps in his last two races before his arrival in Rio de Janeiro planted a seed of doubt within many observers.

Not McLeod, who underlined the value of his fall at the Monaco Diamond League and his disqualification at the Hungarian Grand Prix just over a month before his first race here on Monday night.

"It was a test of character and I think I bounced back well. I came into this championship like it never happened. I trusted myself, I dug deep in God, I trusted my ability and I came and have fun," said McLeod. "It obviously weighs on your mind. you fall and you wonder what's going on, but you learn to regroup from stuff like that. I learned a lot from it and moved on."

"Its amazing! I am elated, the feeling is indescribable. I will have to recite it 'You're an Olympic champion'," smiled the 2016 World Indoor champion.

"I played it safe this championships, you know my speed, but I reserved a lot," said McLeod.

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