Hurdles women favour medal chances

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August 18, 2016
Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer Janieve Russell clears the hurdle during competition in the women's 400 metres hurdles heats at the Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Monday.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:

After carving their name in history as the first Jamaican trio to qualify for the 400 m hurdles final at the Olympic Games, Janieve Russell, Leah Nugent and Ristananna Tracey are all confident of their chances to medal.

Only two Jamaican women have won Olympic medals for Jamaica in this event, Deon Hemmings with gold and silver in 1996 and 2000 with Melaine Walker also winning gold in 2008.

Tracey qualified with the fourth best time in the semi-finals after her 54.80 second place finish in her semi-final with Russell, 54.92 and Nugent, 54.98 finishing second and third respectively in their semis.

All three believe they still have technical adjustments to make ahead of today's 10:15 p.m. (8:15 p.m. Jamaica time) final but are approaching it with full assurance.

"I feel really good. I am trusting God and trusting my coach (Stephen Francis). He says I'm ready so I feel that I am, I am just focusing on doing what he says," said Russell, who is one of two persons in the final to have gone sub 54 seconds this season. American Dalilah Muhammad is the other.

Nugent's road to the final has not been a smooth one.

She was first disqualified from the heat after being adjudged to have not properly cleared a hurdle. After she was reinstated following a protest from the Jamaican management team, the Belarusian team tried to get that decision reversed, but was unsuccessful in doing so.

"I just had to tell myself that God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers, he didn't say it was going to be easy," Nugent said after her semi-final on Tuesday which also produced a personal best time.

Tracey was also confident.

"It was easy to get back and I must thank my coach Maurice Wilson and his support staff for their help. It was a lot of work but now I am here and I am definitely confident about my chances to medal," Tracey said.

- AndrE Lowe

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