By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
AFTER a rarely quiet year since winning the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australia, in April, Bahamas national 400 metre hurdles record holder Jeffery Gibson is hoping to have a banner year in 2019. "I'm setting some goals. I'm reassessing this year's goals and how I came close to accomplishing some of them, so I'm still planning and moving forward," said Gibson, who improved on the Commonwealth Games bronze he earned in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2014.
"It's a long year ahead of us. We don't get to compete at the World Championships until October, but I'm actually so hungry to get back on the circuit. In 2018, I think I might have been cheated of some races, so I'm just going after everything that I didn't get this year and more."
Gibson, 28, was in town over the weekend to participate in the second Shaunae Miller-Uibo Bay Street Mile that was held on Saturday morning. He jogged with some of the youngsters and presented awards afterwards.
Returning to his base in Clermont, Florida, on Monday, Gibson said it's full stream ahead in his training where he's working out with a number of Bahamians, including double sprint national record holder Steven Gardiner, Teray Smith and Shavez Hart.
"I'm looking forward to training camp, it's nice," Gibson reflected. "I think we have enough guys to run a 4 x 4 team for the Bahamas in a meet. So we hope to do more of that next year to see how well we can pull each other along. We did some of that this year. It was a lot of fun and so I hope we can do it some more next year."
Does this mean that the Grand Bahamian native will also be returning to the 400 - the event that he began competing in as a young athlete - and will he be available to assist the Bahamian team at the global level?
"If my coach says go for it, I will go for it," Gibson said. "I'm not hot up for it because I still want to focus on my main event, which is the 400 metre hurdles.
"But if he says we're going to go for it at the World Relays this year, that's what I'm going to work towards. I know I need to get faster in the hurdles and I need to get faster in the open 400m. So be it if it means running on a couple relay teams. I will do it."
The IAAF World Relays has been moved from the Bahamas to Yokohama, Japan, May 11-12.
In addition to the 4 x 400m, the Bahamas is also expected to be participating in the mixed gender 4 x 400m relay.
The quartet of Gardiner, Miller-Uibo, Anthonique Strachan and Michael Mathieu clinched the title when the last World Relays was held in the Bahamas in 2017.
The Bahamas didn't make the final of the men's 4 x 4 and had to settle for a disappointing fifth place finish in the B final with the combo of Andretti Bain, Demetrius Pinder, Elroy McBride and Andre Colebrooke. Following Gibson's silver in the men's hurdles and Miller-Uibo's gold in the women's 200m, the Bahamas men's 4 x 4 relay team redeemed themselves as the team of Ojay Ferguson, Teray Smith, Stephen Newbold and Alonzo Russell emerged with the silver.
Although his training got started last week, Gibson said he was delighted to take a quick break to return home before he resumes full training this week.
"This is the first time in my 10 years in track and field that I'm training like this," said Gibson of his sessions that go every other day. "I'm trying to learn how to navigate through it properly."
Gibson, the 2015 World Championships' bronze medallist, termed it a learning experience, but he's eager to get ready for the long haul of three competitive seasons back-to-back-to-back.
Following the World Championships in 2019, the Olympic Games will be held in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan and the World Championships return again in 2021 in Eugene, Oregon.