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Calvert ready for the big times on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:11 am



Leighton Levy, Star Writer

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Buoyed by a solid 2011 season during which she improved her personal bests in both the 100 metres and 200 metres, 23-year-old Schillonie Calvert is looking forward to even better performances in 2012.

Notwithstanding relatively poor performances - caused in part by a back injury - at the National Championships in June, where she finished sixth in both short sprints, Calvert ended her season with a quick 22.55 seconds over the 200 metres in Zagreb on September 13, making her the third fastest Jamaican woman over the distance this year behind World Champion Veronica Campbell-Brown (22.22) and World University Games champion Aneisha McClaughlin 22.54.

That run coupled with her 11.05s 100-metre run in Hengelo on May 29 means the former Holmwood Technical star has created a perfect platform from which to launch into an Olympic year.

rough period
"We're very pleased, very pleased. Last year she joined us and showed glimpses but her confidence wasn't there. She was coming out of a rough period where after her junior years nothing much was really going on but she is different now and she has gotten stronger, got over a couple injuries and with the confidence she has shown towards the end of the season, we're very excited about her being a factor next year, making the team and going to the Olympics," said her coach Glen Mills, who also coaches the two fastest men of all time over the 200 metres Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake.

This season also saw Calvert finally triumph over a hamstring injury that had dogged her since 2006, which had stalled her progression.

Coach Mills estimates that she is now 25-30 per cent stronger not only in terms of her overall strength but in terms of her core strength and her lower back, which means that she "Is now ready to do that much more in training," he said.

It would be an understatement to say that Calvert is pleased with how things have gone.

"I'm really grateful for my performances this season," she said. "Seeing where I am coming from last season it's really a plus for me."

Her time in the 200 metres, she said, was the big surprise considering that she had not run the event since her sixth-place finish in the finals at the National Championships in June and that most of her work this season was focused on the shorter of the two sprints.

"I didn't expect the 22.55. I just wanted to go out there and execute because it had been a while since trials when I ran the 200," she said. "I wanted to get off that curve and just maintain. I even got a few tips from Usain (Bolt) who was telling me not to go out too hard over the first 100 metres and then maintain and come home. The time was really a shock for me and I am very happy."

With regard to the 100 metres she said everyone expected her to do well because of how well she had been training.

"This season it was going really well and everybody in training was commenting and saying 'Schillonie you're going to run 10 seconds this year, you are going to do extremely well this season.'"

For 2012 she said she expects to work on several technical areas of her race and to be more consistent in terms of her execution as well as the last 20 metres, which she describes as her weakest area.

"Once I fix those I will be a lot better," she said.

Mills concurs adding that he expects her to break the 11-second barrier next season. However, whether or not she will attempt the sprint double at next year's National Championships is still up in the air.

"Jamaica is a very strong country in the sprints and her first priority is to make the team. We have to look at what the opposition is. If she can double and make the team then fine," he said. "But if she has to focus on either the 100 or the 200 and put everything in it, we will see how that happens. If she comes back next season and runs above projections, we'll do it."

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