Sports

Seymour looking to build off Olympic success from Rio

TOKYO, Japan – Back for her second straight Olympics, Pedrya Seymour said she is looking to build off her experience from five years ago and have a strong showing for Team Bahamas here in Tokyo, Japan.

Seymour, 26, shocked the world in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, five years ago, coming into the Olympics as a relatively newcomer in the women’s 100 meters (m) hurdles and going on to make the final and finishing sixth. She ran a then national record time of 12.64 seconds in the semifinals.

As these Games of the 32nd Olympiad gradually progress along, with athletics set to start on Friday, Seymour said she is embracing the feeling of competing at the highest level and is determined to turn in a strong performance.

The heats of the women’s 100m hurdles are set for Saturday morning at 10:45 a.m. at the Japan National Stadium here in Tokyo, 9:45 p.m. Friday night in The Bahamas. The semifinals are set for Sunday evening and the final will be held on Monday.

“I feel great. It’s good to be a two-time Olympian and I’m blessed to be here,” she said. “I just want to go out there and run each round to the best of my ability and the time and result will take care of itself. I don’t ever worry about the competition. I just go out there, focus on my race and do what I have to do.”

One of the athletes she will be going up against is her teammate Devynne Charlton, who broke Seymour’s national record in Walnut, California, in May of this year, running 12.61 seconds.

Both athletes have consistently been under 13 seconds this year and are quite capable of turning it on when they need to.

Seymour said she has had a challenging season on the track, but is prepared to put all of that behind her and focus on the task at hand.

“The thing is I practice better than I compete, and that is something I am working on,” said Seymour. “I have to bring the same energy that I train with to competition. It’s just a matter sometimes of getting over the competition jitters and being able to execute under pressure.”

One aspect of qualifying rounds that she has built on over the years is knowing in how to run them. She said to be successful, an athlete has to know how to maneuver himself or herself through the rounds.

“I’m not nervous at all,” said Seymour. “It’s just about remaining as calm as possible and executing what you have been working on in practice. I have to go through the entire race, 

execute out of the blocks and just go out there and run. I feel like I’m in good shape. Once I focus on what I need to do, and go out there and execute, then I could live with the result.”

The Bahamas has never had two female athletes compete in the short hurdles at a single Olympics and both have legitimate shots to advance through the rounds.

Charlton is tied for 11th on the world’s top performance list for 2021 and Seymour is 46th. They have season’s best times of 12.61 and 12.88 seconds respectively. The women’s 100m hurdles is usually slated for later down in the schedule, but this time it’s one of the first events of the athletics portion of the Olympics. Regardless, Seymour said she’ll be ready to go when her name is called.

“I try not to put any thought process or energy into things that I cannot control” said Seymour. “I just want The Bahamas to keep us prayed up over here, dealing with COVID and everything else. Hopefully, we could stay safe and just execute. There aren’t any fans in the stands but we know that everyone is praying for us to stay healthy and do well. Hopefully, we could go out there and represent The Bahamas well.”

The athletics portion of the Olympics gets underway on Friday and the 14-member track team is training twice per day at the practice track at the Japan National Stadium – once in the mornings and another session in the evenings.

As one of the first in competition in athletics for The Bahamas, Seymour said she’s just looking to get the country off to a good start and hopefully the team can build off of that for the remainder of the meet.

Seymour has been under 13 seconds six times this season, but she knows she will have to run a season’s best and maybe even a personal best to advance to her second consecutive women’s 100m hurdles final at the Olympics and potentially win a medal.

Still regarded as a rising star in Bahamian athletics, she is certainly up to the challenge.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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