By Gary Smith, World-Track
PARIS — It is always ideal to be race-sharp before a major event, but there are those who believe that in-form hurdler Isa Phillips could be racing a little too often before the World Championships.
The Jamaican champion has been immaculate over the 400m hurdles this season – improving his personal best from 48.78secs to 48.05secs, in addition, three times faster than 48.10, to underline his status as a strong medal favorite in Berlin next month.
However, a relevant source to World-Track that his five races in 12 days this month may be too many.
“Yes, I do believe he may be running too many races before the [world] championships,” the source told World-Track on Thursday.
The 25-year-old Phillips, in that five-race duration, recorded wins with efforts of 48.09 in Madrid on July 4; 48.18 in Lausanne on July 7; 48.09 at the Tsiklitiria Athína on July 13 in Athens, and 48.66, most recently in Spitzen Luzern on July 15.
He also finished second to American reigning world champion Kerron Clement with 48.11 at the Gala in Rome on July 10.
Phillips is expected to be a strong challenge to American champion Bershawn Jackson, Olympic champion Angelo Taylor and defending champion Clement at the worlds.
But most recently, Jackson, the 2005 champion who is billed by many to win gold in Berlin, stated that the Americans have the firepower to sweep the event, just like they did at the Olympics in Beijing.
“We have the greatest hurdlers in the world. I don’t think other countries in the world can compete with America,” Jackson was quoted as saying earlier this season.
Phillips, however, believes others and is gunning to prove him wrong.
“I didn’t expect him (Jackson) to, knowing that we have the potential too,” Phillips told local media last week.
“It’s not just the sprinters (like Bolt) … Danny (McFarlane at the 2004 Olympics) beat all of them, except one (Dominican Republic’s Felix Sanchez) … So, I mean, they know we’re right in there.”
He added that he will not be pressuring himself in Berlin.
“The main thing for me is to prove to myself and be a testimony to others that it is true that we (Jamaicans) can be, do, have whatever we want, whatever God made and created us to be,” Phillips explained.
The world championships run from Aug. 15-23, with the first set of the 400m hurdles set to go off on day one.