DeLoach Soukup qualifies for World Indoors in 60m hurdles

February 24, 2014

Janay DeLoach Soukup2She’s already one of the top-ranked long jumpers in the world, but that’s not good enough for Janay DeLoach Soukup of Fairbanks.

She wants to be a world-class hurdler too.

The 28-year-old reached that goal yesterday in Albuquerque at the USA Track and Field Indoor Championships, where she finished second in the 60-meter hurdles to punch her ticket to the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Poland.

“I have been working on it for a couple years, and I’m just now starting to get my foot in the door and figure things out,” she told me. “I’ve still got a lot to work on, but I’m happy where I am right now, that’s for sure.”

DeLoach Soukup, of Eielson High fame, ran a personal best 7.82 seconds in New Mexico just seven days after running a then-PR 7.91 to win the same event at the Millrose Games in New York.

Not bad for a woman with a nagging ankle injury, which kept her out of the long jump in the indoor season.

“At this level it’s about the little things that make the biggest difference,” she said.

The top two hurdlers from Sunday’s race qualified for World Indoors and DeLoach Soukup’s berth was never in doubt. She led the blink-of-an-eye race for virtually the entire way before Nia Ali passed her just before the finish to win by .02 seconds.

“I went out there and tried to get out of the blocks as fast as I could,” she said. “Because I’m not specifically a hurdler, I’m actually quite high technique wise over the hurdles. I may have the speed to stay with them, my hurdle technique kind of slows me down and that’s where they come in and they win.”

To be fair, running the hurdles is like a part-time job for DeLoach Soukup, an Olympic bronze medalist in the long jump in 2012 and the world’s No. 2-ranked jumper in 2013.

You don’t see any other hurdlers doing that.

It just demonstrates DeLoach Soukup’s awesome athletic versatility.

“I actually train as a heptathlete, practicing the shot put, high jump; I do all of it,” she said. “I’ve been training that way so I’m actually more fit, and I feel better. It’s about working on all the events and having good, quality practices over quantity.”