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‘Keep it clean’ will be the motto Jessie Knight tells herself on the start line of the 400m hurdles after overcoming several mistakes to progress from her heat at the Commonwealth Games.
The 28-year-old Olympian from Surrey finished third in a time of 55.88 to secure an automatic qualification spot as Jamaica’s Rushell Clayton crossed the line in first.
But Knight admitted she was not completely satisfied with her performance at Alexander Stadium, acknowledging that she struggled on three hurdles which cost her valuable time.
Yet having managed to get through, Knight believes she can learn from her errors after shaking off the rust following her bronze at the World Championships with the 4x400m relay team.
“It was alright, it was a bit messy,” she said after the race. “Three hurdles I made a few mistakes on but I know I can get them right in the final, I was just a little but rusty.
“Coming back from worlds where I did a relay, I haven’t hurdled for a couple of weeks then when we get home, I couldn’t get in loads of hurdle sessions as I had to recover from jet lag.
“It’s probably been at least a couple of weeks since I’ve gone over the hurdles properly, so I just need a cleaner race in that final and hopefully I’ll be within the front three.
“You make it harder for yourself, because obviously you stop, you’re getting tired and you have to go again so I’m just going to think on the start line, ‘make it easier for yourself’."
There was added pressure on Knight to get through to Saturday’s final as more family and friends had already planned on going along to the session to watch her in action.
With the first objective accomplished, her focus is now on righting the wrongs from her heat and delivering on her potential in the final to put herself in medal contention.
“The nice thing with the hurdles is that big chunks of time can come off. If I just correct those three hurdles then that could be a second, so I’m in a good place,” she added.
“I’m relieved I’m through. I have a lot of people coming to watch on Saturday, so I thought I best get through and I’ve done that. I can have a day to recover and see what happens.
“I just backed off (hurdles) because it was windy. I tried to stick with my normal race plan - I do think I could have done it if I’d committed a bit more, but I was in a really good position to (hurdle) eight.
“I lost hurdles and finished third but it’s fine, today doesn’t matter. I just need to get it clean on Saturday and then anything can happen. It’s an unbelievable place to run.
“I purposely warmed up without my headphones on because I just wanted to prepare myself. All the athletes said it’s been unbelievable, and it just left me speechless.
“Knowing my family are here amongst all these people makes it even better so I really just want to enjoy Saturday and hopefully Sunday in the relay as well.”
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