Determined to get back to the form that he was in just a few years ago, and beyond, national record holder in the men’s 400 meters (m) hurdles Jeffery Gibson has returned to the base where his progression up the charts started.
Gibson is back on the campus of St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina, training under the watchful eyes of former world champion Bershawn Jackson, George Williams and Sandy Chapman. He has yet to qualify for next year’s Tokyo Olympic Games, but that remains an item on his agenda.
Gibson said during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and training restrictions, he is just trying to stay as active as possible and preparing his body for the next phase of his athletic career. A number of venues are just re-opening for athletes to utilize them.
“Post-collegiate and pro athletes have had the issue with gaining access to their training facilities. I train at a university but when the campus was closed down, we had to put a pause on our training and think of ways to relocate. I’ve always relied on having access to a gym versus training at home in my apartment and so when gyms closed down it presented an issue with weight training,” said Gibson.
The Bahamas’ national record holder said he had to purchase weights and equipment just to train at home in Raleigh.
“I know a few athletes who, based on the relationship their coaches had with trainers, were given access to weights whether that be through lifting at the facility or lifting with the trainer at a home gym,” said Gibson. “I’ve had to purchase equipment. If there is a will, there’s a way and many of us have tried to find a way to make the best of the rest of the year. Though it may be harder for technical athletes who use things like the high jump bed, hurdles, sand pits and throwing circles, many of us still continue to train even if its not at the high intensity that we are accustomed to.”
Gibson had his most productive year in 2015, running a number of sub-49-second races in the men’s 400m hurdles and settling for a personal best, national record-setting run of 48.17 seconds for the bronze medal at the Beijing World Championships. He has the top 30 times by a Bahamian in that event and is one of just four Bahamians to run under 50 seconds in the men’s 400m hurdles in a career.
Gibson suffered a torn labrum in a practice session prior to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and has been on the comeback trail ever since. He has never gotten back to the form of 2015 but hopes to put himself in position to qualify for the 2021 Olympics and represent The Bahamas well on the grandest stage for sports. The Olympics has been pushed back to July 23 to August 8, 2021, still in Tokyo, Japan.
“Initially, I felt that a lot of athletes were saddened at the notice of postponement of the Olympic Games. I myself understood the severity of the coronavirus through reports from Europe and hoped that the announcement would have come sooner rather than later. As athletes, we just have to keep training as best as we could and just stay safe,” he said.
Gibson serves as the athletes representative of Bahamian athletes on the executive board of the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) – a position he was elected to a year ago. On the track, his goal remains to get as fit as possible for next year’s Olympic Games and go after a medal for The Bahamas.
Jump Line – Bahamian national record holder looking to qualify for the Olympics