Parchment can go even faster, says coach
LONDON, England — Fitzalbert Coleman, the man behind the success of Jamaican sprint hurdler Hansle Parchment, says he is not surprised the 22 year-old won a historic bronze at the Olympic Games in London and says he can run much faster.
Parchment's medal was the first for a Jamaican male sprint hurdler at the Olympics, surpassing Maurice Wignall's fourth place in Athens, Greece in 2004.
Wignall, also a product of Coleman's, was also sixth in Beijing, China, four years ago.
The former Morant Bay High and Kingston College (KC) star twice broke the Jamaica record on his way to 13.12 seconds and a bronze medal behind the American pair of Aries Merritt and Jason Richardson.
"Surprised? No. There is no way I could be surprised. I have been working with him for three years and you... don't come to the Olympics to roll over and play dead," Coleman told the Jamaica Observer at an event at the Emirate's Stadium on Thursday to celebrate Jamaica's 50th Anniversary of Independence where track icons Merlene Ottey and Donald Quarrie were honoured.
"It was always our intentions to be among the medals and as his coach, I personally felt there was a chance," said the veteran coach who also guides the Ardenne High School team.
"I'm not going to say that I knew (he would win a medal)... but I knew that once he had a clinical run and was clear of the hurdles, he would have made the finals and we then would see what happens.
"The hurdles is what it is and I'm absolutely not surprised in any way," Coleman added.
Since his groundbreaking run, Parchment — a psychology major at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus — has signed a professional contract with German sports goods company PUMA and will compete at four meets on the European circuit, including three Diamond League events.
He signalled his intent last year when he ran 13.24 to become the third fastest Jamaican over the distance while winning gold at the World University Games and raised his stocks with victory at the JN/JAAA IAAF World Challenge Meet in May in Kingston when he ran 13.19.
Parchment will compete at a meet in Poland this weekend, the Athletissima Meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland next Thursday, the Aviva Birmingham Grand Prix three days later and the Weltklasse Zürich meet on August 30 before returning home.
Coleman told the Observer that Parchment, who has been under his tutelage for three years and who lowered his personal best four times this season, is still learning the event and will run much faster.
Asked about the weak areas of his race, Coleman said: "He can run faster and he'll run faster once he stays healthy, the focus is there and the appetite for success is there.
"It's a work in progress... most sprint hurdlers now are going seven strides and he has switched to seven strides since last season... It takes a little time for people to adjust... and that is what's happening; once that's covered, the sky's the limit," said Coleman, who is not known for exaggerating.
"He came into the Olympics unknown... so he had no baggage... no stress. We came with an expectation and he went out there and performed by and large to our expectations and as a matter of fact, I was expecting him to run faster," Coleman added.
Coleman said he came into the Games rested.
"We ran him sparingly. Remember, he is still a student and we simulated things in training so he kept a competitive edge and it can work for you and can work against you.
"It worked for him; he ran sparingly and he had fresh legs and one fixation, which was to be among the medals."
Parchment might have come into the Olympics Games as unknown, but after the 110m hurdles, he is now in the spotlight and is certainly on the rise.