First, the world title.
Now, it’s the world record.
The best of Ryan Brathwaite is yet to come, at least according to the former world champion hurdler, who has his eyes set on consistently clocking sub-13-second times next year before eventually lowering Aries Merritt’s mark of 12.80 seconds.
Brathwaite said this was his biggest goal for next season during a wide-ranging interview with SUNSPORT while touring the National Stadium Friday.
“I could’ve run sub-13 [seconds] this year, but I was trying to be too laid back in running in the rounds, but my aim now is to keep bringing my times down just to get to that world record,” said the 24-year-old sprint hurdler.
“It’s really my flat speed in between the hurdles that I have to work on for my races [because] I have the best technique in the world, and a lot of coaches just wonder how I get this technique down pat during a race.
“So, I have to do a lot more short sprints and try to maintain my endurance. But really, all I have to do is stay focused and just work hard because it is all about hard work.”
A one-time World Youth silver medallist, Brathwaite announced himself as a possible Olympic medallist after becoming the youngest ever champion in the 110 hurdles with a personal best 13.14 seconds in the 2009 World Championships final.
But the former Lester Vaughan schoolboy failed to get anywhere near that form in the two seasons directly following the historic feat, going through a failed experiment of tweaking his technique under then coach Matt Cain.
He also appeared to have put on too much weight over that span, resulting in a long string of subpar times – the best of which was a 13.34 clocking in 2010.
However, Brathwaite signalled his much awaited return in April by running 13.29 in his season opener, before capping the season with a fifth place finish in the London Olympics final two months ago.
“Yeah, I am a bit disappointed not to have medalled, but I knew where my performance level was going to be and it probably would have been a bit too much pressure [to expect a medal].?So I still feel pretty good with the performance.
“I just rushed the race and drifted a bit and then me and the other competitors were hitting each other so that threw me off my rhythm. Plus, I had tendinitis in the Achilles [heel], although my physio was working on it and I felt less pain in the race, but it was still there.
“[But] I can’t look at what happened or what didn’t happen because I have huge goals for next year, so Barbados can just keep supporting because big surprises are coming up next year.”
Brathwaite is home enjoying a couple weeks of downtime before he returns to his Florida training base next month.
“My coach Dennis Mitchell is a good coach and I’m working with a good team that is currently taking me through some of the minor mistakes that I have made in the past. It’s just about going step by step.”