Fri | Apr 19, 2024

Alfred credits Budapest disappointment for indoors success

Published:Monday | March 4, 2024 | 12:10 AM
Julien Alfred
Julien Alfred

GLASGOW, Scotland (CMC):

Newly crowned World Indoors sprint champion, St Lucian Julien Alfred, believes that the disappointment suffered at last year’s World Championships in Budapest helped lay the groundwork for her success here Saturday.

The 22-year-old captured her first global title when she won the women’s 60 metres sprint final in a world-leading 6.98 seconds at the World Indoor Championships.

Fresh off the NCAA circuit last year, Alfred flirted with a medal in Budapest, finishing fourth in the 200 metres and fifth in the 100m, after impressive displays in the qualifying rounds.

“I think losing last season at the World Championships and coming that close to a medal in both the 100m and the 200m gave me a boost,” said Alfred.

“I was very hungry coming into this season.”

She continued: “My coach came all the way from Austin, [Texas], to be with me here, so I wanted to make him proud.

“I’m just going to keep hungry and train hard and keep chasing what I want. I’ll trust in my coach and me.”

Saturday’s final was a tight affair, Alfred recovering from a slow start to produce a late surge before catching the impressive Pole Eva Swaboda on the line.

She suffered several nerve-wracking moments before the winner was finally announced by officials.

Swaboda had earlier installed herself as the favourite for the gold when she raced to a world-leading 6.98 in winning her semi-final, while Alfred clocked 7.03 to win her semi.

However, the former University of Texas sprinter said she had not been intimidated by Swaboda’s semi-final fireworks.

“I wasn’t thinking about that. I think I’ve grown a little bit more compared to last year – the World Championships outdoor until now.

“I feel [last year] prepared me for these championships that even though someone runs faster than me in the semis, just don’t worry about it because there’s always a final.”

She added: “I think I had a great start. I’ll have to ask my coach. I think sometimes I’m just so scared of these World Championship blocks, to be honest, so I think that getting out and not being scared [is important for me].

“I think in the semi-final I doubted myself … and I think I trusted myself in the final to just get out.”

Alfred will now turn her attention to the upcoming season, the pinnacle of which will be the Paris Olympics from July 26 to August 11.

And she stressed that patience and planning will be critical in the build-up to the showpiece.

“It’s about trusting my coach and trusting what he has planned for me,” Alfred said. “It’s one step at a time. It’s one race at a time and just practising hard to execute.”