No false-start concerns for 400 favourite Kennedy
WHEN DELANO Kennedy false-started in the final of the 400 metres at last year’s World Athletics Under-20 Championships, Jamaica wept. When he found himself under false-start scrutiny at the recent Carifta Trials, fans wondered if a worrying trend was gaining momentum. Leon Powell, his coach at Edwin Allen High School, says there is no need for concern.
Kennedy survived the scrutiny at the Trials and won in a season’s best time of 46.24 seconds, bolstering his status as Class I 400 favourite at this week’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships (Champs) at the National Stadium.
“He said he heard something. You know, you have to focus on one sound when you’re in the blocks, and probably, that’s why they didn’t throw him out,” Powell theorised on Friday.
Moreover, coach and athlete have been working to avoid a repeat of what happened last year at Cali, Colombia, at the World Under-20 Championships. “Definitely, we worked on it from the beginning of the season,” Powell reported. “As a matter of fact, from when he was in Cali, we spoke about it, and since he has been back, he has been disciplined in training in terms of exiting the blocks,” the coach explained.
The heartbreak was worse because Kennedy had sped to a personal best 45.49 seconds to lead all qualifiers for the final. When a similar scene arose at the Trials, fans were alarmed.
For coach Powell, it’s water under the bridge for the 2022 Carifta Under-20 400-metre champion.
“It’s not something he has an issue with because since that, in practice, we haven’t seen anything like a false start,” he assured.
“Generally, he’s somebody who’s disciplined in the blocks,” the coach concluded.
Kennedy won his heat on Tuesday in 48.61 seconds and duly advanced to the final with a smooth semifinal run, timed in 46.69 seconds yesterday. The Boys’ Class I 400-metre final is set for 9.30 p.m. today.
The fastest qualifier was Malique Smith-Band of Jamaica College, who won his semi in 46.66 seconds.