'She's determined enough to try again' - MVP coach Francis backs McPherson to bounce back from Olympic disappointment

By Sports Desk October 21, 2021

Stephen Francis, coach of Jamaica-based track club MVP, has backed quarter-miler Stefenie Ann Mcpherson to recover from the disappointment of the Olympic Games and is confident she still has plenty of time to claim an individual major Games medal.

The 32-year-old runner finished just outside of the medal places in Tokyo, after being caught and passed close to the finish line by USA legend Alisson Felix who captured the final podium spot.  The race was won in dominant fashion by the Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo with second place going to the Dominica Republic’s Marileidy Paulino.

McPherson’s finishing time of 49.61 was much slower than her season-best of 49.34, which had been recorded in the event's semi-final.  The athlete collapsed violently sobbing after the event.  Francis admits that the athlete’s time in the final was a bit of a surprise but believes she is poised to recover and post exceptional performances in the upcoming season.

“It was disappointing because I thought she would have run 48 high in the 400m (Olympic final),” Francis told Sportsmax.Tv in a recent interview.

“She is, however, young enough and determined enough that she will be able to try again,” he added.

McPherson, the event’s reigning national champion, returned to training with the majority of the club’s athletes earlier this week.

 

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  • After new 400m season best, Olympian Candice McLeod feels she must suffer to run faster After new 400m season best, Olympian Candice McLeod feels she must suffer to run faster

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     “I feel okay but I feel like I have a little more (to give). I feel like I was just working on what we have been working on in training,” she said following the victory.

    The new race plan that she and coach Fitz Coleman has been putting together is intended to take her to the next level because despite running a massive personal best of 49.51 at the Olympics last summer, McLeod feels as if she needs to suffer to get the best out of her body.

    “Honestly, even when I ran 49.5, I never felt like I gave it my all. I didn’t feel the leg pain, the headaches and whatever so I feel like I didn’t do enough,” she explained.

    “I have always wanted to feel at my maximum regardless of what it feels like. I want to feel like I am dying so I felt like I needed to switch it up a bit to get that dying feeling. Today wasn’t bad, it still wasn’t there but it’s getting there.”

    That plan has been coming together since the outdoor season began earlier this year when she opened with 51.78 at the MVP Velocity Fest meet in Kingston on April 2 before flying off to Bermuda where in extremely windy conditions on April 9, she clocked a solid 51.57. She was second in both races to the 2019 World Championship 400m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson.

    The University of the West Indies accounting graduate followed up on April 23 with what was then a season-best 51.20 in Kingston.

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    “I needed Doha because after the 51.2 here, I needed to see if I could get it (the race plan) in play but, unfortunately, I didn’t do what I wanted to, so I came today even though it wasn’t part of the schedule to run,” she said while explaining what went wrong in Doha.

    “It was the wind. It was bad execution by me too. Bad judgement of the wind and as for recovery, I am not too keen or known to recover well after travel but I am working on that. It takes time.”

    She expressed confidence that most, if not everything, will fall into place by the time Jamaica’s National Championships roll around in late June when she believes a new lifetime best is probable as she heads into the World Championships in Oregon just over two weeks later.

    “With practise comes improvement,” she said. “Everybody wants to be better than they were before so if I get that (below 49.51) then, wow. If I get 49.5, then wow again, but I am working towards just bettering myself,” said McLeod who is relishing the prospect of going up against the best that Jamaica has to offer, namely Young, Williams and defending national champion, Stephenie-Ann McPherson.

    “I am very confident in my preparation, my conditioning and everything. I love competition. It’s all fun for me because I love what I do, so regardless, competition or not, I am here for it,” she said.

     

     

     

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