Iconic American sprinter reveals reason rival hurdlers should be wary of Brazil's Alison Dos Santos

Iconic American sprinter reveals reason rival hurdlers should be wary of Brazil's Alison Dos Santos

Mark Kinyanjui 19:25 - 21.05.2024

The former Olympic 100m champion has revealed why 2022 World 400m hurdles champion Alison Dos Santos will be a force to be reckoned with this season.

Retired American sprinter Justin Gatlin has waxed lyrical of Brazilian hurdler Alison Dos Santos following his electric start to the season in Doha over a week ago.

Dos Santos set a world leading time of 46.86 at the Diamond League classic, to get his Olympic qualifying campaign off to a belter having fully recovered from a problematic knee issue that affected most of his 2023 season.

He finished fifth at the finals of the 2023 World Atheltics championships in Budapest, a straight drop from the gold medal he won a year earlier in Orgeon, but has been working his way back to full fitness as he prepares for Paris. 

His performance in Doha showed he was back, something Gatlin has praised.

“He is the true definition of relentless. To come back from an injury like that and to be able to drop a time of 46.86, its unbelievable," said Gatlin.

“He dominated that race. He gave the impression of ‘I am back and I am ready to go.’"

When Dos Santos was 10 months old, a domestic accident left him with severe third-degree burns. While at his grandmother Geni's house, he accidentally knocked over a pan of hot oil that she was using to fry fish. The oil spilled on him, causing extensive burns on his head and other parts of his body. 

His grandmother also sustained burns while trying to help him. They were both hospitalised, with Alison spending four months at the Barretos Cancer Hospital for treatment.

The physical scars from the accident also impacted Dos Santos emotionally, making him shy and self-conscious.

Growing up, Dos Santos' shyness led him to spend a lot of time alone in his room. However, his involvement in sports helped him overcome his introversion and gain confidence. Through sports, he began to come out of his shell and engage more with others.

Gatlin has praised Dos Santos’ mental fortitude, something he says drives him to be the best version of himself amidst adversity.

“The way he talks about it, if I was in a situation like that or any other person was in a situation like that, they always would feel a type of way about that tragedy. But he is like ‘look, this is not going to stop me from living," he added.

“He definitley steps up on the track and shows none of that matters. Being infront of the crowd does not matter that way.”

Meanwhile, the former Olympic 100m champion has revealed why the 400m hurdles is going to be one of the events to look forward to.

“That 400m hurdles this year, as it has been in the past, is going to be exciting to watch. I can’t wait to see Bryan (Robson) open up with a big time. Same thing with (Karson) Warholm. These guys are going to come out there and set some big times.”

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