From Prefontaine panic to Racers Grand Prix triumph: Alfred reaffirms champion's mettle in Olympic Games build up

By June 04, 2024
ALFRED...I wanted to come to Jamaica to work on my execution so we can move forward. ALFRED...I wanted to come to Jamaica to work on my execution so we can move forward.

It wasn’t necessarily a quest for redemption, but Julien Alfred knew she had a wrong to right when she lined up in the women’s 100m at the Racers Grand Prix last Saturday.

This, as the St Lucian sprint sensation was far from pleased with the execution in her season-opening run at the Prefontaine Classics in Eugene, Oregon, where she placed second behind American World champion Sha’Carri Richardson, a week prior to her arrival in Jamaica.

Alfred admitted that she lost her form after finding herself ahead of the pack in that Prefontaine outing, basically confirming what most track and field enthusiasts are well aware of –that every race is a test of nerves, speed, and resilience.

However, Alfred, the World Indoor 60m champion, demonstrated that true champions are not defined by their setbacks, but by their ability to rise above them, and rise above it she did.

She bounced back in spectacular fashion at the Racers Grand Prix, clocking a brisk personal best 10.78 seconds to equal the meet record set by Shericka Jackson last year. Despite the eye-catching time, Alfred pointed out that she approached the race with a steely resolve, determined to prove her mettle and, more importantly, execute efficiently.

“I wanted to go out here and just work on execution, that was all that mattered. I didn't expect the time that's why I was smiling so much, but I really just wanted to come out here, enjoy the crowd, and work on my execution in preparation for the Olympics,” Alfred declared.

“I usually watch my competitors and how they run, so I know what to work on and whether at the start, I can stay as close to them as possible. So from Eugene (the Prefontaine Classics), I know I had a lot to work on at the end of my race, because I kind of panicked the last 40 metres, because last year I was not leading the pack in any other races, so being in front, I kind of panicked a little. So I wanted to come to Jamaica to work on my execution so we can move forward in each step of the race and prepare for the Olympics,” she added.

There is no doubt that the Racers Grand Prix performance will be a significant boost to Alfred’s confidence going forward, as she remains focused on the road ahead.

With the Paris Olympic Games fast approaching, the 22-year-old, who also boasts a 200m personal best of 21.91s, knows that there is still work to be done and she intends to leave no stones unturned where preparation for the global multi-sport showpiece is concerned.

“I have to go back to my coach. I think my start wasn’t as powerful as in Eugene, but I didn’t mind at all, and my ending, I still fought to the line which was better compared to last week. So, I'm going to go back to training, train four a month, work on the basics again, and then go to Europe and prepare for the Olympics,” she shared.

If her early season indications are anything to go by, then Alfred will certainly be a force to be reckoned with on the biggest stage of all, provided she maintains a clean bill of health. The journey may be long and challenging, but for Alfred, the pursuit of Olympic glory is a challenge worth embracing.

“I think I have a long way to go, to be honest, but I feel good about it (the Racers Grand Prix performance). But you may feel good about it at the time, and then you sit down and watch and you’d be like ‘this could have been better’ but so far, I’m satisfied and I’m not complaining. I just wanted to go out there and do well and that’s the aim for every race going into the Olympics,” Alfred ended.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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