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  Track And Field

Buckley Back In The Blocks - Hurdler Seeks Revival By Reverting To MVP

 
Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer

The last two years have not been easy for Markino Buckley. The 400m hurdler, who was seventh in the 2008 Olympic finals in Beijing, had a bright future before him. He had run a personal best 48.50 seconds in the semi-finals in Beijing before clocking 48.60s in the finals, and many pundits saw him as a medal prospect for the London Games this past summer. Only, Buckley wasn't even there, at least not to compete.

Following his relative success in Beijing and making the Jamaican team to the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Berlin a year later, Buckley left the MVP Track Club in 2010 for Racers Track Club, and over the next two years his progression was hampered by injury, a loss of motivation and what he described as a weak hurdles programme. In fact, he reveals that he came very close to walking away from the sport altogether.

"There were injuries and I wasn't mentally prepared to compete," said the 26-year-old hurdler. "I didn't want to go out there and make a fool of myself so I didn't want to compete."

A hip injury and tendinitis behind his right knee were the main sore points, but there was a level of frustration that also played a role in his decision to retire. When he made the move to Racers' Track Club, head coach Glen Mills welcomed him warmly. But what he subsequently found was that the club didn't have a strong hurdling programme.

"They didn't really have a hurdles structure there," he said.

During his time there, he worked with 400-metre coach, Bert Cameron, who Buckley said did a good job preparing him to run the distance, but the World-champion-turned-coach had his shortcomings.

Lack of knowledge

"Working with Bert was okay, but he didn't know much about hurdling," Buckley said.

The training environment also lacked other things, he said.

"There was no energy there for me. I like to feed off the other athletes, but no one was really there for me to feed off, despite the presence of Usain Bolt and Blake and the other stars," he said.

These factors, he said, contributed to his frustration and, as a result, he ran sparingly, delivering weak season bests of 49.20 in Belem in 2010 and an even more lethargic 50.05 seconds in May last year.

"At one point, I was going to quit, but Melaine (Walker) spoke to Mr Francis."

The coach then offered him a chance to return to MVP this off season. Now that he is back at MVP, Buckley, sporting blue-coloured hair, said he is feeling like his old self.

"Training is going great so far. I am improving and my body is feeling much better. I am getting back to where I was," he said, adding that he has one eye on the IAAF World Championships in Russia next summer.

"The championships are there, and for now, I am working on being back to where I was. If I get back there, I will definitely be a part of that team."

The hair colour, he said, is part of who he is now. So far this background season, his hair has been coloured orange, blonde and blue. He said he could next go for green or a blonde and blue.

"It's a new thing I am trying," he said smiling. "It's part of the new Buckley."

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