Stuart Weir wrote this fourth piece of the day on the Women’s 400m hurdles at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.
Women’s 400m hurdles
The women’s 400m hurdles were something of a letdown, with only 11 entrants chasing 8 places in the final. Three of the fastest four athletes were Jamaicans – Rushell Clayton, Janieve Russell, and Shiann Salmon.
Jessie Knight, excited to be running in a home championship with her family watching, commented on her third-place finish:
“It was a little bit rusty coming back from worlds. I did a relay leg but I haven’t hurdled for a couple of weeks, and then when we got home, we couldn’t do lots of hurdles because I had to recover from jetlag.
“A cleaner race in the final, and I’ll be in the front three, hopefully. I’ve got a lot of people coming to watch on Saturday, so I thought, ‘I best get through. I did that, and now I can have a day to recover and see what happens.”
“The crowd was just unbelievable. I purposefully warmed without my headphones on because I just wanted to prepare myself. All the athletes have said it’s unbelievable. I’m speechless, and knowing my family is somewhere among all these people is even better. I really just want to enjoy Saturday and hopefully Sunday in the relay”.
However, the race was somewhat overshadowed by Lina Nielsen’s recent revelation that she had MS (multiple sclerosis). She finished last in her heat. She told the media:
“It has been such a rocky ten days trying to navigate everything my body has gone through. I haven’t really got a training session in, so it was just about going out there to try and compete – and I gave it my best shot. I’m just so happy I got to experience a home crowd, I wanted to cry at the start. I wanted to put myself out there and show you can do it.”
“I don’t know if I’ve processed it yet. I just wanted to show what athletes might be going through. Running three seconds slower at the World Champs was not me. I couldn’t even walk properly a week ago, so to race at the Commonwealth Games, I’m so proud of myself. It was phenomenal.
“On a day-to-day basis, I function as a healthy human. I wasn’t unhealthy for about five years, so it was a really big shock for it to happen at the world champs. It’s something you navigate; it’s very unique to every person that deals with MS. I’m healthy about 98 percent of the time”.