Melaine Walker, the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games 400m hurdles champion, is looking forward to the Paris 2024 Olympics with optimism, despite not achieving notable results in recent years.
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Walker, who set the Olympic record of 52.64 seconds at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, achieved a time of 52.42 seconds at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, the second-fastest time in history at that point. However, since winning silver at the Daegu 2011 World Athletics Championships, Walker has mounted a podium. She failed to make the final at the London 2012 Olympic Games but had secured a couple of meet victories that year, her last year running the 400m hurdles.
At the Jamaica Trials in 2022, Walker ran 13.48 for 6th in her heat of the women’s 100m hurdles.
Melaine Walker, 40 years old, then switched to the 100m hurdles, an event she repeatedly said is her first love, but without significant success. Her season best in 2013 was 13.05 seconds, her best time in the last ten years. Her personal best, however, remains 12.75 seconds from 2006.
Melaine Walker on Comeback Trail, Focused on Paris Olympic Games
Despite these challenges, Melaine Walker remains focused: “The aim is to get to the Olympics,” she told NationWide Radio in an interview. “That is what everybody is working for (Paris 2024). I can’t have any other thing at hand but to focus on Paris 2024.”
She acknowledges her performance over the last decade has been far from competitive and admits she “needs to come back first.” She has planned her comeback carefully: “I’m taking small steps in order to just get myself out there first, and you know, once I’m back, then I will be able to be in the mix, and then we can race and see how it goes.”
The women’s 100m hurdles is one of the most competitive event in world track and field, and the situation in Jamaica is no different. Danielle Williams surprised the world by winning at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest ’23. Before Williams, Britany Anderson, considered the best Jamaican hurdler, at this point, won silver in Eugene ’22 but missed 2023 due to an injury. Megan Tapper won an Olympic Games silver medal in Tokyo, and along with Ackera Nugent, Amoi Brown and Yanique Thompson, Jamaica remains strong in the event.
Melaine Walker remains undeterred by the competition: “It’s a good thing I don’t pay attention to the athletes. I pay attention to my ability,” she explained, using the analogy of someone hesitant to open a food shop due to the prevalence of other shops.
“Me nah open no shop because too many people have shops, how people ago come to your shop come to buy,” she asked rhetorically.
“So you have to open up your shop the same way because everybody may come to your shop, so for me, I just want to go out there; I can’t think about who is already there… because all my life growing up there always people there and I have always managed to overcome and beat them and come on top.”
Melaine Walker concluded, “It’s the same intention I have, the same personality, the same everything, for me, so I can’t look on who is there; my thing is to train and see where the Father God let me end up for the season.”
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