|Interview with Jeffery Gibson – Bahamas Bronze medal winner 400 meter hurdles 2015 IAAF World Championship in China
By The Bahamas Weekly News Team
Sep 26, 2015 – 8:18:13 AM
Jeffery Gibson – Bahamas Bronze medal winner in the 400meter hurdles at 2015 IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China. (Photo: David Mackey – Mackey Media Ltd/ TheBahamasWeekly.com)
Freeport Grand Bahama Island – Jeffery Gibson – Bahamas Bronze medal winner in the 400meter hurdles at 2015 IAAF World Championship in Beijing, China stopped by our studio last week for a brief interview about his achievement, future plans and how it all started. Gibson is ranked 5th in the World.
Firstly, congratulations on making our country so proud! How does it feel to now be back home after being so successful on the world scene?
It is such a relief to be home. I have been busy with a few things, but honestly, I am just so happy I can be back home and see my parents and my family.
After achieving so much, how do you feel about the future?
I am just thinking about how I did this year and I am optimistic about next year. A lot of people come to me say it’s such a good job that you did. It feels nice to please my people, and my family. So I just want to make sure I am ready for next year to do something great. I will start training the end of October. I am still on vacation. After my last race in Brussels I take four to five weeks off and then I will begin base training back in Raleigh, North Carolina.
What do you see yourself doing differently to be even better you were last time?
As far as what I am going to do differently next year, I am trying to become much stronger technique-wise. I am not the best hurdler, but I am trying to get my technique down a little better and keep my physique a little longer.
I noticed that my core was not as strong coming into the final months of the track season, so I am going to make sure that I am physically fit so I that can to become much faster.
When did you start running the hurdles?
Originally, I started running the flat 400 meters. It was in 2008 when I was running the 400 meters at Carifta trials and junior nationals, and I think out of exhaustion in the heats, and I was not able to run the finals in the 400. And that took me out of the running to go to the World Juniors. I wanted to get on the team so I asked the team coordinator to put me in the 400 hurdles; I never ran it before. Frederick Bastian said just run and jump and I went out there, and ran and jumped, and it was awkward, but it showed me that if you really want something you go out and do it. And I was able to qualify and I made the team and went to Poland. Then I asked myself what are you going to do when you go against the world? These are qualified hurdlers and most of these guys know how to run and jump. Two weeks before the competition, I had to take some lessons from other hurdlers such as David Charlton to get my act together for Poland World Juniors. From there, I did it off and on in college until my senior year where I ran the hurdles full time for the entire track season. I just began to blossom slowly, but surely.
Share with us the feeling of being ranked fifth in the World?
I am very pleased with myself. Last year I finished off my season ranked 13th, so to become top five…I want to make that number one next year and I don’t want to get anything less than top 10 from now on in my track career. I think I am more than capable to do it and with hard work and determination, I think I can achieve it.
Where did you attend school on Grand Bahama?
I went to BMEHS. I went there on Monday and spoke at the assembly, and earlier today I went to Award ceremony for the High School Division to help present awards, and then I went to the Primary Division and took photos with each of the classes there. I never really expected to get that much attention from people at home, especially from the young children.
What would encouragement do you have for young persons who want to follow in your footsteps?
I would tell them that track and field is always up and down, and unpredictable, but to always keep the faith. It is amazing how your life can change in a year. I try to be optimistic, hopeful, and prayerful with what I am doing, and the changes have been working in my favor, and I can only thank God for that.
Describe the euphoria you felt when you crossed the line in men’s 400m hurdles at the IAAF?
When I crossed the line I was not exactly sure how I finished because they had not posted the results and I knew it was a close finish and would take some time to get the results on the board. In my head, I was saying please not fourth.
So when I saw my name third, I said, ‘Yes Lord, Thank you.’ I was happy; it was nice. It has been so amazing.
You won the Gold in the Pan-American Games in Canada, did you expect to win?”
I think mentally sometimes I count myself out or I don’t give myself l the credit that I deserve. I know that I am a hard worker, I just don’t know my talent or what I am capable of. That race was good for me because Javier Culson (of Puerto Rico) is a rival; he is one of the best hurdlers in the Caribbean, and when I beat him and Kerron Clement (of the United States), the world renown hurdler, I told myself that I am capable of achieving anything. My training partner Dean always tells me you are so strong and tells if you get on the home stretch with them or if they are striking distance don’t let them beat you. Once I realized that we came over hurdle eight together, I tightened my core, kept my form, relaxed and just ran all the way home and I passed him, and won the race; it was something truly amazing.
Tell us of your mental and spiritual process prior to a race?
I try to eat four hours before I run. My mother managed me really well and told me to do that. I don’t have any rituals, but I always carry my yoga mat with me to stretch out. And so at different events, I have a bag I take with me with all my gear, and my yoga mat is always on the side.
How do your parents feel about your achievements, do they encourage you?
They are very happy. Two and a half years ago we sat down and talked about my plans to move professionally into hurdle verses running 400m and 400m hurdlers. They advised me to go strictly to 400 hurdlers; they saw this before me. And just to see that everything is happening the way they said, I am just so relieved and grateful that they believed in me. They were very happy about the win in Beijing and my mother expected it.
Jeffery, any final notes?
I just want to send a shout out to my family and friends in Eleuthera and Nassau, and also to my grand parents who really support and take care of me.