Omar McLeod eyes switch to 100m sprint after mixed feelings at National Championships Featured

2016 Olympic champion Omar McLeod is considering stepping away from the 110m hurdles to focus on the 100m sprint, citing a loss of passion for the hurdles despite a remarkable career that saw him clinch major titles early on. In an interview with Sportsmax.TV, McLeod shared his mixed feelings after narrowly missing out on making Jamaica’s team for the 2024 Paris Olympics, despite running a season's best time in the final of the 110m hurdles at the Jamaica National Championships on Sunday.

McLeod clocked 13.22 seconds in a tightly contested final, finishing fifth behind Rasheed Broadbell (13.18), Orlando Bennett (13.18), and defending Olympic champion Hansle Parchment (13.19). Tyler Mason also posted 13.22, highlighting the depth of talent in Jamaica's sprint hurdles scene, with only 0.04 seconds separating the top five finishers.

Reflecting on his performance, McLeod said, “I am overjoyed, to be honest. I gave myself a fighting chance to come out here and make the finals. I knew what I was walking into; like I said last night (Saturday), this race was going to be electric, and I was very excited to race with Parchment and Broadbell and these guys again competitively.”

Despite his joy, McLeod expressed a deep sense of personal struggle over the past few years, during which he failed to qualify for the team to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and the World Championships in Oregon in 2022. He did not compete in the trials in 2023. “I think you know what I have been through over the years and how hard I had to fight to really get back into this situation, and I have never felt this happy and this amount of joy in a long time,” he said, fighting back tears. “So, the fact that I am here and I had a season best is a win. It’s a win in so many ways, and I can’t even explain it.”

At 30, McLeod feels he has accomplished all he needs to in the sprint hurdles, having won the Olympic title in 2016 and the World Indoor and Outdoor titles in 2017. Looking ahead, he is seeking new challenges. “Maybe not hurdles, because to be honest, I fell out of love with hurdles because I’ve won everything in hurdles at a young age, and it was very hard to find motivation for hurdles," McLeod explained. "Especially knowing that I have the talent for other events, and I really wanted to explore that over my career. I want to give myself a chance to do that. This was to give my shot again for the hurdles, but I think moving forward, I think I am going to step down to something that my heart wants, which is to sprint.”

McLeod boasts a personal best of 9.99 seconds in the 100m, making him the first man in history to run under 10 seconds in the 100m and under 13 seconds in the sprint hurdles. “You’ve seen the indoors and the progression that I’ve had over the years, so it’s there. I have always known that, but I’ve never gotten the opportunity and the chance to really explore that, and I really want that for myself.”

McLeod’s journey over the past few years has taken him to Italy, where he has found a renewed sense of purpose and joy under the guidance of Coach Marco Airale, who also trains fellow Jamaican Britany Anderson and British sprinter Daryll Neita. “I found a new life. I wanted to give myself a bright new start, and I knew I wanted to be around familiar faces and people that I really adore, and that would make it easier. I took the risk, and I took the blind faith, and I fell in love with the place. I found friends there, I found a community, I found family, and I am enjoying it thoroughly,” McLeod shared.

 As McLeod contemplates his next steps, his focus is on pursuing what his heart desires, aiming to make his mark in the 100m sprint while cherishing the new life he has found in Italy.








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Last modified on Tuesday, 02 July 2024 07:34
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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