By Dean “The Sportsman” Greenaway
EUGENE, Oregon—Kyron McMaster was withdrawn from Sunday’s 400m Hurdles semi-final in the 18th World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, after going through various treatments following his preliminary race on Saturday.
McMaster secured one of the four automatic qualifying spots to the semifinals, after placing fourth in his heat in 49.98 seconds. Despite being later disqualified in 2017, it was the third time he had qualified for a Worlds semi. McMaster went out aggressively, hit the fourth hurdle and the race began getting away from him, after switching lead legs. He then hit another hurdle late in the race.
“We had to withdraw Kyron from the semifinal due to a hamstring injury, just considering the length of the season,” personal Coach Mark Elliott said, about 2 hrs before his run. “He still has the Commonwealth Games so it was the best decision for the athlete, to make sure he can continue through the rest of the season.”
National Coach Willis “Chucky” Todman, said McMaster was “disappointed” as this is the third World Championships that things didn’t go his way. “The last one he finished fourth and the one in 2017, he was disqualified, so he’s a bit down,” Todman said. “I think one of his goals for the season is defending his Commonwealth Games title. As a precaution for that, we thought it was best for the athlete, his (personal) coaches made the decision and we agreed. To go in there and run when he’s not 100%, I think he would have been doing more harm than good. So right now, we have to protect Kyron from himself.”
On Monday, sprinter Beyonce DeFreitas made her Sr. championships debut with a non-advancing seventh place finish in the 200m. DeFreitas had a time of 23.81 seconds.
“It wasn’t the best, a bit disappointing but it’s all a part of the game,” DeFreitas, who ran a personal best of 23.20 seconds this season, told Island Sun Sports. “I had a great start. It’s just that I couldn’t get the turnover coming off the curve. I ran the curve how I wanted too, but it was coming off the curve that was not the best.”
DeFreitas hadn’t run a 200m since she ran in the NCAA East Regional on May 22 for Central Florida, where she ran 23.62 seconds. That could be part of the reason for having problems with her transition, she said.
“I’m not in race shape since I haven’t run in so long,” said DeFreitas, who’s next race will be at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England in early August. “That could be part of the reason the race didn’t go as planned today. It was good to get a race under my belt before heading to the Commonwealth Games.”
With the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, DeFreitas said from the experience, she’ll need to have races after her collegiate season, before a major championships, so she can stay race ready.
Willis “Chucky” Todman who has coached DeFreitas since her formative years in the Sprint Tech Track Club, said he hadn’t gone over the race with her, because sometimes after an athlete didn’t perform as expected, you don’t throw salt on the wound. From an assessment, he thought she ran a good first 50m.
“At one point in the race coming down the home stretch, I was wondering if she was hurt, because she was way off her personal best,” he noted. “The way she was practicing, Beyonce should have gotten fourth in that race because she was on pace to run at least 23 flat.”
Todman said one to the coaches pointed out that she hadn’t run since May and he couldn’t bring her to the meet and expect her to compete with persons who have been racing and she hadn’t raced in so long. While she ran the 100m at the Caribbean Games, she wasn’t at her best.
“That’s another thing we have to look at. Being in shape is one thing but you have to be race sharp, especially coming into this meet,” he said. “We did Beyonce and injustice and it messed with her not only running well, but her confidence as well. So the only thing I can do is try to get back that confidence for the Commonwealth Games.”