'It was just too much' - former champs star McLauglin believes hectic high school schedule contributed to injuries, blighted senior career

By Ricardo Chambers and Donald Oliver May 22, 2021




Former Holmwood Technical High track star and Jamaica representative, Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby, believes the hectic schedule she managed during her time competing at the country’s annual boys and girls high school championships contributed heavily to an injury-plagued and shortened senior career.

McLaughlin's achievements as a high school athlete are the stuff of legend.  The sprinter earned some 19 gold medals and set records that stood for many years after she hung up her spikes.  In fact, her Class Three 400m record of 52.52 seconds, set in 2001, remains on the record books to this day.

Despite admitting that, at the time, she did not consider it to be an issue, she now believes her high school success may have come at a steep cost.

“To an extent it was, with the injuries, talking about that 200m (loss to Simone Facey) in 2004, I think I suffered my first major injury that year, so I went to Champs not fit,” McLaughlin-Whilby told SportsMax.tv’s The Commentators podcast.

“Since then, I had recurring injuries, especially with my hamstring, so, I think all of that competition over the five years in the high school system had an impact on me when I got to the professional level,” she added.

Changes to the high school competition’s rules, limiting athletes to two relays and two individual events, would have meant that McLaughlin-Wilby would not have been able to take part in as many races per year as she did during her time at the championships.

As a professional, her best achievements included a fifth-place finish, in the 200m final, at the 2009 World Championships and helping Jamaica to a silver medal at the Rio Olympic Games, with strong performances in the heats and final of the 4x400m relays.

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