Olympic champion hurdler Walker severs ties with coach

Kingston (Jamaica), April 12 (IANS/CMC) Olympic and World 400-metre hurdles champion Melaine Walker says her decision to sever ties with the MVP track club was prompted by her coach’s refusal to train her for sprint events.

The Jamaican athlete outlined her reasons after publicly confirming her that she was now a member of the famous Racers club where the likes of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake train.

Walker has accused her coach, Stephen Francis, of breaching a verbal agreement reached between the two when she first joined MVP club.

“Coming out of college, Stephen Francis and I had an original plan of running both events (100m and 400m hurdles). What I have realised over the years is that he has refused to coach me in the 100m hurdles,” Walker said Thursday.

“I have had this ongoing lingering problem with thinking that I am a sprinter. At the end of the day, this problem would not have occurred had I been running the 100m hurdles.”

Walker is the 2008 Olympic 400-metre hurdles champion and also boasts a personal best of 52.42 seconds over the 400m hurdles, a mark that was set at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Berlin in August 2009.

She says her dream is to compete at the 100-metre hurdles, an event in which she has run as fast as 12.75 seconds in 2006 at the NCAA Championships in California.

In an interview with the Gleaner, Walker said she is determined to find out if she is capable of excelling at the sprints.

“I would then be comfortable that I am not a sprinter and I wouldn’t have to think about it all the time,” Walker explained.

“So I would dedicate myself to the event (400m hurdles) and start to accept the event at another level. That is all that I was searching for.”

Meantime, Francis has confirmed refusing to assist Walker in her quest to fulfil her sprint ambitions.

“She came to me early February and told me that she wanted to sprint. I told her that well, you are a big woman, I am not going to tell you what to do, but you are not doing it here,” Francis told television Jamaica.

“I am not going to help you with the foolishness about you being a sprinter. You were a sprinter at 15 years old, you are now 30 and a lot has happened during that time and it is pointless.”

Walker said she is happy with her decision to leave MVP club and is now finalising her programme with coaches at Racers as she attempts to take on the 100m hurdles and 100m sprint.



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