Wed | Aug 12, 2020

Preparation is the key – Morgan

Published:Tuesday | April 21, 2020 | 12:19 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

HONOURED LAST week for his performances at Pittsburgh State University, 1998 Commonwealth 400 hurdles champion Dinsdale Morgan says he simply did his best to help the team. Morgan is being inducted into the US Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association NCAA Division 2 Hall of Fame.

The winner of the 400m/400m hurdles double at both the 1995 and 1996 NCAA Division 2 Championships, he is thankful that his efforts have been remembered.

“I really appreciate them inducting me in the National Hall of Fame,” Morgan said, days after the announcement of the honour on April 16.

The 1992 Boys’ Championships 400m hurdles winner for St Elizabeth Technical High school (STETHS), Morgan was a willing team player. “I tried the 100m, 200m, 60m, and I always just tell coach, whatever is best for the team, I’m willing to go out there and do it”, he recalled.

Coached by Mike Ollivierre at STETHS, the Hall of Famer has been showered with congratulations.

“I spoke to Mr Ollivierre, my junior college coach, the coach from Pittsburgh, several people call me, several people send me messages about it, so I really appreciate it and this will be remembered within my family forever,” added the two-time Olympian.

The key to his success is simple.

“That all come through hard work and because of what I always tell my kids, I wasn’t the fastest guy or the strongest guy, but I always go out there and make sure I prepare myself to compete,” he revealed.

A long 1998 campaign saw him bouncing from the Grand Prix final in Moscow to the World Cup in Johannesburg and then heading to Kuala Lumpur for the Commonwealth Games. Worn out, he wondered, “should I go down there, because I have a long season’; and I spoke to Mr Coleman and he said, ‘Just come on down here and just bring a good vibe to the team’.”

LONG STANDING RECORD

That chat with Jamaica team coach Fitz Coleman led to gold and a Games record – 48.28 seconds – that stood for 12 years. Morgan is the only Jamaican ever to have won that title.

Earlier in that season, he clocked a personal best of 48.13 seconds which made him the second-fastest Jamaican ever, behind Winthrop Graham. That was 22 years ago, but he is still in the top 10 at number six.

“It feels great, you know, to bring on the tradition because you know it was Winthrop Graham. It passed down from him to me and all the rest of the guys, like Danny McFarlane, Kemel Thompson, and those guys, you know,” Morgan chimed proudly.

He has always admired Graham, who was a star at STETHS before winning World Championship and Olympic silver in 1991 and 1992, respectively, and a World bronze in 1993.

“Through high school, the person Mike Ollivierre always tell us about was Winthrop, so I looked up to him,” Morgan shared.