“If you look back at the race, I was actually in third position and then my back flared up a bit on me.” With his deep baritone unwavering, he said: “There was nothing I could have done.” Informed of his Track and Field News ranking, he said: “I wasn’t expecting it but I put in the work, and it definitely did pay off for me.” Hughes and his Jamaican coach, Patrick Dawson, a highly regarded assistant to sprint guru Glen Mills at Racers Track Club, have reviewed his 2015 efforts and are cautiously looking forward to Rio and a place in the 200m final. “As to the medal”, said Dawson, “I’m not one of those who like to count my eggs before they hatch, but it would be great to see him on the medal rostrum.” Hughes has started his 2016 programme with a 400-metre personal best of 47.12 seconds. That’s part of an effort to make the sprinter stronger. The plan also includes 100-metre races. He did only one last season and achieved a clocking of 10.15 seconds. While he is confident of lowering his 100-metre best, he is sombre about breaking 20 seconds in the 200m. “Expectations are there,” he said diplomatically. “Work is definitely being put in right now”, he revealed, with the advice that he is expecting the work again to pay off. “It’s just for me to continue to work hard, and to trust my coach and to stay injury free and to continue to climb to the top,” he said, full of hope and determination. “So definitely, maybe one day I could be the world record holder. “You never know.” Third position British sprinter Zharnel Hughes has come a long way since his first international experience at the 2010 Carifta Games. Fresh from a 2015 campaign highlighted by a fifth-place finish in the 200 metres at the World Championships, Hughes has his eyes on the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is quietly confident and is expecting his hard work to pay off. In 2010, at the Carifta Games in Grand Cayman, Hughes was timid. “I was always thinking I probably won’t medal,” he recalled. He placed eighth and last in the Under-17 100-metre final won by Jamaica’s Odean Skeen, now at Auburn University in Alabama. “I just went out there and I didn’t know what to do,” he reminisced. The 6’5″ native of Anguilla is far more confident these days. World ranked at number five in the 200 metres by respected US publication Track and Field News, he said: “I just go out there with a positive mindset each time instead of having to doubt myself.” He ended his days as a junior athlete with gold medals from Carifta, the CAC Junior and Pan-Am Junior Championships and the ISSA Boys’ Championships Class One 100-metre record of 10.12 seconds. He entered 2015 with a 200m personal best of 20.32 seconds – from his 2014 season at Kingston College – and cut and carved it down to 20.02 seconds. That time and his fifth-place finish in the World final came despite a minor injury that first surfaced in the semi.
Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts during a break as she plays against Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh during their round-of-16 match at the WTA Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, southwestern Germany, on April 25, 2019. (Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP)World number one Naomi Osaka defeated Hsieh Su-wei 6-4, 6-3 in Stuttgart on Thursday to reach her first career clay court quarterfinal and admitted she had been left “depressed” after a “rough few months”.US and Australian Open champion Osaka, who lost to Taiwanese veteran Hsieh in Miami last month, secured a place in the quarter-finals against Croatia’s Donna Vekic as she launched her preparations for Roland Garros.ADVERTISEMENT “She’s a really tricky opponent. You never really know what she’s going to do.”Osaka needed 84 minutes to dispatch the unconventional Hsieh, ensuring she will hold on to top spot in the rankings for at least another week.She is less than 200 points ahead of Simona Halep in the WTA rankings, although the Romanian pulled out of this week’s tournament with a hip injury.Top seed Osaka fought off the only two break points she faced, in a lengthy service hold for 2-all in the opening set, before breaking Hsieh in the following game.That was sufficient to wrap up the first set, and a Hsieh double-fault handed Osaka a break to start the second before she closed out victory with another service break in a performance that featured 22 winners and just 16 unforced errors.Osaka will meet Vekic, a 6-1, 7-5 winner over Daria Kasatkina, for a spot in the last four, while Latvian seventh seed Anastasija Sevastova defeated 2017 champion Laura Siegemund 6-4, 6-3.Sevastova will meet third-ranked Petra Kvitova next.Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit eased past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3, 6-2, while Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens took down Belinda Bencic 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.German number one Angelique Kerber, who won here in 2015 and 2016, takes on compatriot Andrea Petkovic later. “Definitely I’ve put a lot on pressure on myself and found it hard to deal with in the first few tournaments.“Now I start trying to have fun out there, which is what I did before I was number one.”Osaka, 21, broke Hsieh three times in total to beat Hsieh for the second time in three attempts this year, having also defeated her on the way to lifting the title in Melbourne.“I did feel like I am in control, but I also felt she is taking more risks than me,” said Osaka.‘Tricky opponent’ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess The Japanese star arrived in Stuttgart, where she last played as a qualifier in 2017, after suffering early exits in her last three tournaments.Osaka has admitted the difficulty of dealing with the trappings of fame and becoming the world’s top player in recent months, a period which saw her split with coach Sascha Bajin after the Australian Open.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“I am really grateful for everyone that has been really positive towards me. It was really rough the last couple of months. The kid was depressed out there.”“If there is one positive thing that I can say about myself, it is that I learn quickly,” said Osaka, who reached the last eight of a tournament for the first time since her coaching split. SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Spurs overcome big night from Jokic to force game 7 vs Nuggets PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew MOST READ Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles View comments