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Injuries Halt McLeod's Season

Leg injuries have forced Jamaica's hurdler supreme Omar McLeod off track. McLeod, the World and Olympic champion in the 110-metre hurdlers, has suffered injuries throughout the outdoor season and last raced in July. Though he will miss this week's Diamond League finals, McLeod is on the mend and looking ahead to next year.

"I made the decision to end my season because of injuries which had actually plagued me throughout the season," said the 25-year-old Jamaican in a statement yesterday. Abductor and ankle troubles forced him to miss his usual season opener at the Drake Relays in April, but he stormed back to win at the Shanghai and Eugene Diamond League meets, clocking 13.16 seconds and a wind-aided 13.01, respectively, in those races.

His time in Shanghai was the fastest by a Jamaican in 2018 until July 22 when Commonwealth champion Ronald Levy won in London in 13.13. The injuries hampered him in his two races after that, in Switzerland and Hungary.

"My progress with my injuries has been great," he informed The Gleaner. "I think it's very important that athletes realise the importance of rest," he advised, "and taking breaks so that their bodies can recover and heal properly."

With those troubles behind him, the former Manchester High, Kingston College and University of Arkansas star is focused on the future.

My outlook for the 2019 season will be no different from my previous successful ones I've had," he resolved, "and that is to approach it with a level head, as well as not losing sight of who I am, also to work and compete hard, and make sure I am enjoying the sport."

He is thrilled with the success of young Jamaicans in his event. Last year, De'Jour Russell won the World Under-18 title in Nairobi, and this year, Damion Thomas and Orlando Bennett went one-two at the World Under-20 Championships. That quinella came after Thomas had equalled the world junior record of 12.99 seconds at the Jamaica National Championships with Bennett moving the second fastest of all time at 13.00.

"I've been really impressed and proud of our junior athletes and the level of success they have harnessed over the past three to five years," he enthused. "It's something I've envisioned for our country," he extended, "and I am beyond thrilled that myself, along with Hansle Parchment, Andrew Riley and Levy, among others, were able to lay that foundation for them."

He lauded Thomas and Bennett, saying: "Seeing how dominant we've become in hurdles on both the junior and senior level is definitely a blessing and an achievement that should not be overlooked.

"Congrats to them and I hope they will carry the 'torch' with distinction," he concluded.